Wednesday 25 April 2018

'Inspector Morse hotel' fire blamed on chefs using too much cognac to flambé beef

Manager of Oxford's Randolph Hotel says beef stroganoff was being flambéed in the kitchen and the flames got sucked up into a vent

Bosses at the hotel in Oxford say beef stroganoff was being flambéed and the flames got sucked up into a vent Photo: Alamy
Bosses at the hotel in Oxford say beef stroganoff was being flambéed and the flames got sucked up into a vent Photo: Alamy

Chefs who sloshed too much cognac into a saucepan are being blamed for sparking the blaze which devastated Oxford's world famous Randolph Hotel.

Bosses at the hotel in Oxford, which was used as a set for the Inspector Morse and Lewis police TV shows, say beef stroganoff was being flambéed in the kitchen and the flames got sucked up into a vent.

Manager Michael Grange said early inquiries "pointed to perhaps too much cognac in a saucepan" being the cause of the fire which quickly spread to the first floor and the roof of the 150-year-old hotel on Friday afternoon.

More than 80 people were evacuated from the building.

No-one was injured but it's feared the repair bill may top the £1 million mark.

Assistant chief fire officer Simon Furlong said the initial kitchen fire was rapidly doused but not before it had spread upwards.

"It appears it spread to the first floor and then jumped outside the building in a chimney effect.

"There was a three-sided external gap and it jumped up to the roof area. It was fairly lucky it didn't get in to the internal workings of the hotel.

No-one was injured but it's feared the repair bill may top the £1 million mark.

Assistant chief fire officer Simon Furlong said the initial kitchen fire was rapidly doused but not before it had spread upwards.

"It appears it spread to the first floor and then jumped outside the building in a chimney effect.

"There was a three-sided external gap and it jumped up to the roof area. It was fairly lucky it didn't get in to the internal workings of the hotel.

"It's a very rare occurrence, which I believe saved part of the hotel."

Bosses say 'about 95 per cent' of the hotel escaped serious damage.

"It was quite distressing but it could have been so much worse" said a spokesman, who added that they hope to partially reopen, offering bed and breakfast, by the weekend.

After the blaze, all the guests were accommodated at other Macdonald hotels, the group which runs the five-star Randolph. 

Telegraph.co.uk

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