‘Significant’ fire tears through Caledonian Hotel

Image: Elizabeth Charles/Twitter

Huge plumes of dark smoke enveloped Osborne Road on the evening of October 4th as a “significant” fire consumed the Caledonian Hotel.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue confirmed that seven fire engines, an aerial ladder platform, Command Support Unit and two senior officers were tackling a blaze within the Jesmond hotel.

Incident commander Ian Warne confirmed there were no injuries at the scene.

Two-and-a-half hours after the fire started, and with it still raging, the fire service called the blaze “significant”.

Early footage from the scene seemed to incidate the fire appeared to be concentrated on the upper floors of the hotel.

They advised residents and passersby to close windows and avoid the area due to the smoke.

The fire started just after 5:30pm in the hotel, which is also home to Osborne Road’s famous Billabong bar. A large police cordon was quickly put up around the scene.

Charlotte Gardiner is a private tutor who lives opposite the hotel. “My student and I kept hearing loads of sirens and wondered what was happening,” she said.

“It was only when my next student arrived just after 5:30pm, their mum said there was a huge fire. The sirens seemed constant for about 50 minutes. The emergency services obviously responded well.

“My front bedroom window was open so the smell of smoke has slowly been creeping into my flat without me realising at the time. I had my 30th birthday at the Caledonian so it’s a great shame to hear there’s been a fire.

Gardiner’s brother is meant to be staying at the hotel this weekend. When he rang the hotel to see what to do, there was no answer.

Resident Nicola Wintrip, who lives opposite the hotel, said she had been told that everyone was evacuated safely from the Caledonian.

However, Wintrip had spoken to one bride-to-be who may have lost her wedding dress to the fire the night before her wedding. She also spoke to another guest at the hotel on a stag do in Jesmond.

“All his belongings are in there and has no idea where they’ll stay tonight,” Wintrip said.

Local businesses worked quickly to help out those affected by the fire. Cal Kitchin of Cal’s Own told JesmondLocal he and his neighbour were putting up people who lived in the house next door to the hotel.

Spy has also offered guests staying in the Caledonian their spare rooms for the night, Kitchin told JesmondLocal.

Go North East buses were diverted away from Osborne Road as the street was closed to traffic.

Traffic snarled around the area, with congestion reported on the A189 northbound as a result of the fire.

At around 7pm, resident Elizabeth Charles told JesmondLocal: “The road is still closed and they are still spraying the fire. It’s got to be at least 90 minutes it’s been ongoing now.”

By 7:30pm, Wintrip believed the fire may have been under control. “It looks like the may eventually have the fire under control as there doesn’t seem to be flames bellowing out now,” she said. “Just lots of smoke.”

However, others on the scene saw flames still flickering from the roof of the building.

The Caledonian is one of nine hotels owned by Peel Hotels Group, a small national hotel chain. The hotel has 91 rooms as well as a banqueting and conference centre, and the Billabong bar and bistro.