A wedding DJ working at a hotel that caught fire said he broke down in tears when he realized how close they had been to a disaster.
Fire crews were called to Thornton Manor hotel where they battled the blaze all night in what Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service called a “challenging incident”.
The Fire Service was called at 9pm on February 5 to the fire at the hotel in Thornton Hough, Wirral.
READ MORE:Updates as fire crews tackle blaze at Thornton Manor hotel through the night
Emergency services were first called following a fire in the hotel’s boiler room which was put out before fire crews arrived on the scene.
But upon further inspection it was revealed the fire had spread to the roof space which required the efforts of fire crews from eight engines as well as a service drone.
Today emergency services remain at the scene where they continue external works while a structural survey is set to take place to determine the extent of the damage.
A wedding DJ who was working at the hotel on the night described to the ECHO how scared guests were when they had to be evacuated for a second time.
Matthew Tolley said he was working as a DJ but ended up leading the evacuation efforts – first after the alarms sounded following the boiler fire and second when the fire reached the roof.
He told the ECHO : “The fire alarm went off and I went to evacuate the building.
“I told everyone to get out and went and looked at the fire alarm with the groundsman.
“It showed there was a fire in the boiler room so we went and put it out with an extinguisher.
“But later in the night the alarm went off again.
“I did all the shouting and screaming telling everyone to get out so took all the grief from the guests.
“I then had to go back in with the firefighters as there’s a clipboard near the front door with all the names of the guests at the hotel.
“It was the second time the guests had been evacuated that night so they were annoyed with it, but when they went outside and saw the fire and smoke coming from the roof they were scared to death.”
Mr Tolley said it was lucky the incident wasn’t more serious than it was – and when he was driving home broke down in tear after realizing the near escape.
He added: “I was totally fine when it was happening – but when I was halfway home I burst into tears like a big baby.
“It really, really could have been a bigger disaster as a lot of people could have gone back up to their bedrooms after the first evacuation.”
(Image: Matthew Tolley)
One hotel guest that did go back to his room was Sean Martin and his wife Mandy.
Mr Martin told the ECHO this morning he was awoken by fire crews banging on his door telling him to get out because of the fire.
He said: “We were asleep but they hammered on the door for us to get out.
“They were very professional and seemed as if they had the scene under control.
“But there’s still smoke billowing out of the house – it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re here for a day or two.”
Mr Martin said when he was evacuated out of the building he realized the extent of the fire and felt thankful everyone had managed to get out.
He added he had managed to get an hour of sleep in the gatehouse but now wanted to be able to get his possessions and get home to New Brighton.
He said: “The flames had taken over the whole house.
“We could see them flames on the roof and they were about 10 feet high.
“It’s died down this morning but you can still see smoke coming from the roof.
“We’re just waiting to hear what can happen to see if we can get in and get our keys so we can go home.”
(Image: Andrew Teebay)
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service confirmed this morning a full evacuation on the property had been carried out with a comprehensive search audit completed.
Structural engineers had been requested with a structural survey due to take place.
Emergency services from Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service and Merseyside Police also remain at the scene.
Manor Road has remained closed since the early hours of this morning while services work at the hotel.
Traffic monitor INRIX said it is closed between A5137 Brimstage Road and Thornton Common Road – and police have advised drivers to avoid the area.
There is no update to when the road will reopen.
Follow the ECHO blog for updates involving the fire at the hotel.
Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what’s on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here