The blaze that lead to the destruction of 2 large hotels on Sandown seafront was discovered by a 16-year old girl who quickly raised the alarm and evacuated colleagues and guests.
Beth Julien, who works as a waitress for the Tarvic2 Hotel, discovered the fire whilst laying up for Tuesday’s breakfast service. She looked out of the window to see passers by waving frantically, shouting and pointing to another area she could not see from where she was working.
Beth has described to Island Echo how she looked out of another window further up the building to be met with the sight of flames. She promptly found another member of staff and then took it upon herself to raise the alarm to all of the hotel’s guests and have them evacuated quickly.
“I didn’t know how to feel if I’m honest, I just knew I didn’t want to let anyone get hurt.
“I ran up the stairs of the Tara Suite (the side of the hotel which wasn’t affected) and kicking and hitting on my Boss’s door telling him ‘get out now, there’s a fire!”
After alerting hotel management, she then promptly proceeded to continue alerting guests, other waitresses and kitchen staff who were all on the affected side of the building. Even by this point no alarm had been sounded, so Beth ran and triggered the hotel’s alarm system immediately now knowing the full severity of the blaze.
“After I pressed the alarm, I then panicked about guests in their rooms, so I went over to the Victoria Suite (closest to the fire) and shouted “There’s a fire! There’s a fire! Then I guided those people out of the main entrance making sure they were okay.”
Once the alarm was sounding, the local teen headed directly towards the area that was most affected to ensure all guests were able to evacuate swiftly and safely, assisting them to leave the building as quickly as possible.
Beth then proceeded to escape the building to the Esplanade side where the passers by that pointed to the fire were stood alongside another waitress. Realising that the kitchen staff had still not evacuated, one of the passers-by headed into the burning hotel to alert the staff to the severity of the blaze and lead them outside.
It was then that the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service arrived on scene to tackle the blaze. By then it was apparent this was an incredibly serious blaze that was spreading quickly.
“Watching the fire was so upsetting.
“When the fire hit the roof, I was devastated, we had all worked very hard in the hotel to make it as beautiful as it is.”
Beth had her 1-year anniversary working for the hotel on Saturday and can only be described as a credit to the management of the hotel – the swift actions of this quick-thinking youngster may well have prevented much more devastating consequences.
Investgations into the cause of the fire are underway.
A spokesperson for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has this morning said:
“Two appliances from Newport Fire Station, In the aerial appliance, have returned to the scene this morning (Monday) to carry out site checks.
“A full investigation into the incident will be carried out, with a fire investigation team due to arrive on site this morning.”
Further details will be issued in due course.