'Arson attack' at derelict Hotel Riviera in Newquay

Hotel Riviera fire. Pic: Joe Polland
Image caption The fire took hold in the first and second floors of the building

A derelict hotel in Cornwall has been damaged in a suspected arson attack.

Eighty firefighters were called to the former Hotel Riviera in Lusty Glaze Road, Newquay, at about 06:30 BST.

The fire took hold in the first and second floors of the 50m by 50m (165ft by 165ft) building, which has 50 bedrooms, the fire service said.

The site was searched for people as rough sleepers were known to use the building. An investigation has begun into the cause.

'Scared for our lives'

It is the second fire at the site in less than a year. The last one being in September 2011.

Jenny Adamson, who lives next to the site, said she and others were "scared for our lives at one point".

She said: "The fire appears to have started on the top floor, as that was where the flames and smoke are coming from."

She added: "Two elderly ladies were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation, and we had to drive our cars further down the road so that the fire wouldn't get to them."

Referring to both of the fires at the site, she said: "Pressure needs to be applied to get the site demolished."

She said: "We live on a very windy part of the cliff.

"If it had been a windy day, the fire could have spread further and people could have died."

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service group manager Dave King said a security company was erecting a fence around the site.

He added: "It's suspected arson because there is no power to the property, and there's no other reason a fire should start; but there is an ongoing investigation."

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