A FORMER firefighter bravely fought a fire at a hotel full to capacity with people waiting to be rehoused by Brent Council.
Dariusz Gosz, who was a fireman in his native Poland between 1984 and 1986, was doing some routine repairs at Sudbury Hotel, in Harrow Road, Sudbury, when a fire took hold in a single bedroom at the front of the building at 9.30pm on Sunday.
The 48-year-old builder said: “I was fixing a door and I heard the alarm go off. Many people were running down the stairs, saying something.
“From inside it wasn’t possible to stop the fire because the door was closed. The girl had left the keys inside, locking us out.
“I took the ladder from the back and leaned it against the front wall. I saw big flames. Next I tried to stop the fire with the red bottle [extinguisher] through the window and then the people from the fire station came.”
The lone occupant of the room, who had been living at the hotel for several months, was treated for shock by paramedics. Her belongings were destroyed by the fire.
Twenty other people got out of the building safely and unharmed.
All the guests had been placed at the hotel by the council while awaiting rehousing. They have been transferred to other hotels while Sudbury Hotel is temporarily closed.
The hotel’s manager, Ali Musani, said: “We’re thankful nobody was hurt.
“Dariusz is a hero and my caretaker has done very well. He called the fire brigade, evacuated everyone safely and took a roll call.
“The fire started in an upstairs room and it’s been gutted completely. The flames also caused some damage to the roof and there’s water damage from the fire hoses.
“We don’t know when we’re going to be able to reopen.”
Firefighters from Wembley, Northolt and Harrow fire stations arrived within a few minutes of the 999 call and had the fire under control by 11.30pm. They stayed until 3am surveying the debris with a thermal imaging camera to check for any remaining embers. The cause of the fire is under investigation by London Fire Brigade.
Sudbury Hotel has been in operation for 25 years and Mr Musani said it was the first incident of this kind in the business’ history.