The general manager of a hotel destroyed by fire spoke of his relief that all involved got out safely.

Grahame Carrington, general manager of the Gateway to Wales Hotel in Garden City, thanked the efforts of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service following the devastating blaze that destroyed the building’s roof on Monday morning.

More than 75 per cent of the Welsh Road establishment was also damaged by the fire that took hold just after 4.30am on December 18.

An investigation into the cause remains open.

Speaking to the Leader, Mr Carrington said: “We were glad to have the support of the fire brigades and we are just glad that everyone is safe.”

The manager and staff set up a temporary office in the adjacent Leprechaun pub while the hotel remains off-limits due to health and safety concerns.

In a statement on the hotel website, Gateway to Wales confirmed bookings have been suspended until further notice and all those with reservations were being contacted to advise them of the situation.

Residents in the new Maes Helyg properties next to the hotel woke in shock as they were directed to leave their belongings and congregate outside the new building shortly before 5am.

Danielle Davies, who only moved in just a week ago, said although there was no damage to the building, seeing the hotel on fire in the dark of the night was “shocking.”

She said: “We were woken up by someone shouting at us to get out. I looked out and it was just shocking - when I heard it was a fire I thought it would just be in one window.

“You could see the fire and you could feel the warmth coming off it.

“There’s no damage, just some ash on the windows. I just felt really, really shocked.”

Kieran Royle, 25, who moved into his new flat last Thursday, said when evacuated, he didn’t have time to put his shoes on.

“I was lying on my couch and could see an orange light coming through the windows.

“I didn’t realise there was a fire until the police knocked on my door and said we were being evacuated.

“I had to go out in my socks and I could see the flames coming from the roof.

“The flames were really high and the fire was going from room to room.

“I was taken to the fire station and there were loads of people there.

“Then we were taken to the leisure centre and people were saying they had lost everything.

“My feet were soaking wet and somebody at the leisure centre gave me some flip flops.

“People have lost their cars, their money and everything so I feel very lucky, but it was the worst night of my life.”

Residents in Maes Helyg were allowed back in to their apartments at around midday on Monday.

Guests at the Gateway to Wales were evacuated to Deeside Leisure Centre which acted as a rescue centre as firefighters dealt with the flames.

The guests were cared for at the leisure centre until around 4pm on Monday when the area was stood down.

Community leaders paid tribute to the response of officers and emergency services during a meeting of Flintshire Council’s cabinet yesterday.

Cllr Christine Jones, Sealand Labour councillor who lives on Welsh Road, said: “I’d like to thank everyone at Flintshire Council for their help they gave to staff and the community.

“Social services and housing were amazing, nobody was left out in the street, they pulled out all the stops and the emergency services were fantastic.

“Everyone there was fed and rehoused.

“It was a horrendous day for us all, so upsetting, but my community are really grateful.”

Cllr Bernie Attridge, Flintshire Council deputy leader, added: “It’s amazing how when there’s a crisis or a major event, everyone comes together.

Colin Everett, chief executive added that it had been ‘an emergency response in every sense’ and the rest centre was stood down mid-afternoon.