CHEFS who sloshed too much cognac into a saucepan are being blamed for sparking the blaze which devastated Oxford’s world-famous five-star Randolph Hotel.
Bosses at the hotel in Oxford, which was used as a set for the Inspector Morse and Lewis police TV shows, say beef stroganoff was being flambéed in the kitchen and the flames got sucked up into a vent.
Manager Michael Grange said early inquiries pointed to perhaps too much cognac in a saucepan being the cause of the fire which quickly spread to the first floor and the roof of the 150-year-old hotel on Friday afternoon.
More than 80 people were evacuated from the building.
No one was injured but it is feared the repair bill may top £1-million (R18.1-million).
Assistant chief fire officer Simon Furlong said the initial kitchen fire was rapidly doused but not before it had spread upwards.
“It appears it spread to the first floor and then jumped outside the building in a chimney effect … It was lucky it didn’t get into the internal workings of the hotel.”
Bosses say about 95% of the hotel escaped serious damage. A spokesman said they hoped to partially reopen, offering bed and breakfast, by the weekend.
After the fire, all the guests were accommodated at other hotels in the Macdonald group.
– The Telegraph