GUESTS had to flee when a fire broke out in a Basingstoke hotel last Sunday.

The blaze started in a first-floor laundry room at the Red Lion Hotel in London Street at 3.30am.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service sent 25 firefighters and four pumps from Basingstoke fire station to tackle the fire.

Temporary crew manager Etienne Patterson said guests and staff were already evacuating the building by the time firefighters got there, and that damage was limited to one room. There were no injuries.

Mark Brittain, press officer for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “One of the priorities for firefighters arriving at the scene was to account for all persons reported in the building.

“For this reason a make up of four fire appliances was requested. Ten sets of breathing apparatus, two hose reels and a positive pressure ventilation fan quickly brought the fire under control.”

Hotel guests were looked after by street pastors from the nearby United Reformed Church.

Guests Latifa Clay and Geraldine Fezzani from London both phoned The Gazette to pass on their thanks to the church. Mrs Fezzani said: “We would have been stood outside in the car park for hours if they hadn’t helped us. We were given hot drinks, water and they really do deserve to be thanked. We were all so grateful.”

The fire was extinguished at 6.21am and the cause is now under investigation.

No one from the Red Lion Hotel was available to comment to The Gazette.