One dead, two missing in Cornwall fire


British emergency services are hoping to sift through the smouldering debris of a razed hotel in Cornwall today in search of clues as two guests remain missing after a fire gutted the building early yesterday.

One man died falling from a window after the Penhallow Hotel in the holiday resort of Newquay was engulfed in flames and four people are in hospital, one in a critical condition.

High winds fanned the smoking wreckage today as a mechanical digger cleared debris around the site but firefighters said it was still not safe enough to enter the gutted remains.

"It will be a very delicate and intricate operation," police Superintendent John Green said.

"Fire and police specialist teams are gong to work to ensure a meticulous and detailed investigation to ascertain exactly what happened."

More than 100 firefighters arrived shortly after midnight to find the blaze sweeping through the tall white-fronted building which forms part of an Edwardian-era terrace.

Eighty-six mainly elderly residents were evacuated from the hotel but two are still unaccounted for. Police said two other people who had been missing since the fire had now presented themselves to officers.

Newquay, a resort town on the north coast of Cornwall, is known as a surfing centre and is close to miles of beaches.