DOZENS of firefighters have been battling to stop the spread of a huge fire at a hotel opposite Eastbourne pier.

The blaze at the Victorian-era Claremont Hotel broke out this morning.

Flames destroyed the roof and were raging inside as firefighters doused the building with water pumped from the sea.

Twelve fire engines were called to the scene but by mid-afternoon officials said it was under control.

The Argus:

Everyone was safely evacuated, however the ambulance service said one person was taken to hospital with breathing problems and six treated for minor injuries.


Locals were told to keep windows shut as smoke drifted across the town.

South East Water also urged people to limit their water use as "vast amounts" were needed for the fire.

The hotel is on the main seafront road and directly faces the town's pier - which itself suffered a devastating fire in 2014.

The Argus:

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said they had been called out at 8.52am.

Incident Commander and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews said: "The fire spread from the basement through to the upper floors.

"The wind also caused some additional challenges and we needed to take water from the sea.

"We will now work to ensure that the fire is completely put out. This will take several hours and so the roads in the area are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future."

He said the building was seriously damaged and would need an expert examination before a decision is made about its future.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear.