Fire at the George


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.

Smoke billows from the building

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.

Firefighters on a ladder and cherry picker check the roof

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 .

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  1. Dreadful news. Heartfelt sympathy to all affected by this appalling incident. Here’s hoping The George bounces back quickly and emerges even better than it was before.

  2. Imagine how devastating this could have been during the day when roads are frequently blocked by idiots parked on double yellow lines.

    • My thoughts exactly after seeing an hgv stuck in the high street only a few days ago my thoughts were heaven help us if there was an emergency up here

  3. We are shocked and saddened by this awful news and thank goodness no-one was hurt. We look forward to the renovations being completed in time and will be back to your lovely hotel.

  4. Not all parking on double yellow lines is by ‘idiots’……many are legitimately parked with disabled blue badges. Don’t jump to conclusions – fire personnel are quite equipped to deal with such situations.

    • Having a blue badge does not mean it’s okay to park anywhere! Logic and consideration should still be used. 5 plus blue badge cars park outside the entrance to a Hastings primary school every day and cause dangerous situations even though there are always 2 adults to each of these cars. Fire personnel may be equipped but what can they do if cars are simply in the way! I hope the George is restored to it’s former glory as soon as possible and thankful that nobody was hurt.

  5. My friend and I wish The George a speedy recovery. We have always enjoyed a good meal in your comfortable dining room, stepping up to the bar for a nightcap and the camaraderie that pervades the atmosphere.

  6. I feel sorry for all the guests .staff and owners .
    I hope they get it restored really quickly and can bounce back .
    I’m so glad everyone got out safely .
    Happy to help the hotel in any way I can

  7. It is complacent to say that “fire personnel are quite equipped to deal with such situations. In fact fire appliances like any large vehicle obviously cannot physically get to the scene of fires if thoughtlessly parked cars are blocking the way. It is fortunate that no vehicles got in the way this time, probably helped by the time of day. Rye Fire Service has been worried over a long period by the possibility of not being able to reach a fire in the Citadel area and has done dry runs and warned badly parked cars of the danger they pose. Double yellow lines are there for a good reason as for example opposite the top entrance to Market Road to enable larger vehicles to make the turn successfully. But then probably few people are aware of the short stretch of double yellows there since they are constantly parked over !


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