Yesterday I was down on the Strand waiting for a 32 up to St Marychurch, I haven't been up there for a while. The bus driver suggested I should catch a number 12 up to the Grand Hotel instead as he had heard it was on fire. Ever the one to get a dramatic photo of a hotel burning down I took his advice and hurried over to The Grand. Not the most dramatic hotel fire I have ever been to, just a bit of smoke from a chimney on fire. There were about 6 fire engines there, I expect the Fire Brigade has to cover all eventualities where hotels are concerned.
We have a history here in Torquay of burning down hotels, 3 have gone up in flames in the last 2 years. Usually we wait until the hotel has been empty and derelict for a couple of years. It known locally as getting planning permission to build apartments. The council doesn't like hotels being turned in to apartments for some reason and would sooner see a derelict building slowly rotting than nice new apartments being built. I am sure they have good reasons but I don't know what they are.
The Grand Hotel certainly does not come into the category of wanting planning permission to turn into apartments so one can assume the fire started by accident. Having said that, chimney fires usually start because of a build-up of soot in the chimney caused either by burning unsuitable items in the fire place or not getting the chimneys swept regularly.