Guests evacuated after chimney fire at Rockliffe Hall

The Northern Echo: Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth

GUESTS were evacuated from a luxury hotel tonight after a chimney caught fire.

The blaze broke out at Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth, near Darlington, shortly before 7pm.

Two fire crews and an aerial ladder appliance were sent to the property, and guests were evacuated as a precaution.

Andrew Allison, station manager for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said firefighters managed to gain access to the chimney via a flat roof and put out the flames.

Other crew members then checked the chimney from below to make sure the fire had been fully extinguished.

"With the architecture of the building, you have got be very careful with a fire like this," he said.

Fire crews were at the hotel for about an hour.

Nick Holmes, the hotel's managing director, said: "There was an isolated, small fire in a chimney.

"We did carry out a full evacuation which was completed swiftly and promptly.

"I was delighted with the response of the team, and the fire brigade.

"The fire has not caused any extensive damage and we are now fully operational again."

He said the chimney would be inspected further tomorrow morning.

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