Fire broke out at the George in Rye hotel shortly after 4am on Saturday, July 20. Fire alarms woke the guests and they vacated the building safely as the roof and attics were engulfed in flames.
Fire appliances and medical help arrived quickly on the scene. According to one rye witness, firemen attempted to quell the blaze from with hose water from ground level, but it took two hours until 6am for the essential equipment of an aerial platform to arrive. By then the whole roof was ablaze.
One of the guests staying at the hotel, Mark Price from Westerham, watched as firemen smashed through the ceiling of the room he had occupied and sprayed high pressure jet into the room.
Other guests were there to attend the wedding of Neil Speller to Sarah Hopkinson at St Mary’s. While an unforeseen and dramatic start to married life, the good news, we understand, is that both the cake and wedding dress were saved.
The hotel is important both as a tourist venue and as a local employer and its closure for restoration for however long it takes represents a serious loss to the community. The building itself contains many historical features dating back to the 16th century. The elegant ballroom is likely to have been destroyed by water if not by fire.
Image Credits: Rye News library , Sharon Devold , Anthony Kimber .