Guests at Gateway To Wales escaped inferno with just the clothes on their backs

Reporter:

David Humphreys

A man and his partner staying at the Gateway to Wales Hotel lost everything but the clothes on their back.

Guests and staff were forced to flee afte

Paul Drake, from Accrington, Lancashire, was staying with his girlfriend Kassandra Southan as the pair planned to go shopping at Cheshire Oaks.

Mr Drake described the moment they were woken up by the fire alarm and said he couldn’t believe what was going on.

“We were sleeping and then the alarm went off at about 4.15 and we ran outside,” he said.

“We lost everything that was in the room and we don’t know about the car as it was parked to the side.

“Everyone was making their way outside and we stood in the car park and watched it burn.

“We saw the fire in the reception and it started to spread so they moved us to the other side of the road.

“We were taken to the fire station for a couple of hours and then on to the leisure centre.”

Mr Drake said the couple’s watches, wallets and money were all left behind in their room when the hotel was evacuated. They managed to get out in the clothes they were wearing.

He added: “It’s just shocking, you don’t expect it at all.

“I thought it would just be someone smoking in one of the rooms, you don’t expect the place to be on fire.”

Brian Lunn, from Dudley in the West Midlands, had been staying at the hotel while working on a contract at Tata Steel.

He said: “It was about 4.30am when the fire alarm sounded. My room was on the ground floor looking towards the main dual carriageway.

“I looked out of the window and there was smoke rising above the gymnasium.”

He added: “I am shocked and I’m thankful that we were all evacuated.

“They’ve told me my car’s a write-off and I’ve lost all my clothes, wallet, credit cards and glasses.

“People say the night watchman helped a lot of people out and it sounds like he’s the real hero of the night.”

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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