17th Century Totnes hotel damaged by fire

Fire at Royal Seven Stars, Totnes
Image caption Sixteen people were evacuated from the hotel

A former coaching inn has been damaged by a fire in Devon.

Fire crews were called to the Royal Seven Stars in The Plains, Totnes, at about 06:30 GMT, after the fire started in a chimney.

Sixteen guests were evacuated from the 21-bedroom hotel by staff. Parts of the building date back to the 17th Century.

Devon and Somerset Fire Service said it was concerned about the stability of the chimney and engineers were to assess it. No-one was injured.

Police closed neighbouring Fore Street, one of the town's main roads, while two fire crews with an aerial platform put out the fire.

Hotel staff were praised for leading the guests to safety.

Watch Commander Roger Williams, of Devon and Somerset Fire Service, said: "The building was evacuated when we got here.

"The staff had done a superb job in making sure residents were awoken.

"The fire alarm did actuate, so that helped the situation."

The cause was not yet known, the fire service spokesperson added.

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