Staff and residents evacuated as fire engulfs hotel on Welsh border

Fire has ripped through a hotel on the Welsh border, forcing the evacuation of residents and staff.

Dramatic footage posted on Facebook showed the roof of the Gateway To Wales Hotel in Deeside engulfed in flames after the blaze took hold in the early hours of Monday morning.

The hotel, understood to have around 40 rooms, appears to have been burnt to a shell, according to one witness.

Danny Lawton, who lives in new flats next to the hotel with his girlfriend and baby, told the Press Association he was woken up by police banging on his door just before 5am.

The 24-year-old machine operator said: "We grabbed the baby and her stuff and headed downstairs, and the car park was already full of people. The heat coming off the fire was immense.

"The whole roof and top floor was on fire and the surrounding area was just full of smoke and flashing blue lights. There was a dozen or more fire trucks and police cars.

"I was told to move my car as quick as I could as the heat would melt it - that's how close it was.

"As far as I'm aware the fire has been put out and the building has burnt down to just a shell."

People with nowhere to go were offered shelter in the fire station, Mr Lawton added.

More than a dozen emergency services vehicles including seven fire engines and four ambulances raced to the scene after the alarm was raised at around 4.30am.

North Wales Fire and Rescue said in a statement: "Firefighters are currently in attendance at a fire at a hotel on Welsh Road in Deeside.

"They were called to reports of the fire at 4.27am this morning (Monday 18th December).

"Seven fire appliances, one from Flint, Mold, Buckley, Wrexham and Chester, and two from Deeside, together with two aerial ladder platforms from Wrexham and Chester are in attendance at the incident.

"On arrival, firefighters found the roof space of the building well alight and used four sets of breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets and two main jets to tackle the fire.

"All residents and staff at the hotel have been accounted for and have been evacuated to a safe area."

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We are currently at a hotel fire; the call was received at 4.43am as a call from the fire service.

"We have resources at the scene, with four ambulances, two rapid response vehicles, two duty officers and a hazardous area response team from the North West Ambulance Service."

North Wales Police tweeted: "#A494 in area of Gateway to Wales Hotel - road disruption and lane closure impending due to fire. Please use alternative route as long delays are expected."