Police have released shocking drone footage that shows the full extent of the damage caused when fire ripped through the Gateway to Wales hotel last month.
Around 60 firefighters tackled the blaze for several hours after fire broke out in the early hours of December 18, and police were forced to close the A494 because of the thick black smoke that enveloped the area.
All 47 guests and staff members managed to escape safely from the iconic hotel which is situated on the Chester/Flintshire border, and sought shelter at nearby locations including the Deeside Leisure Centre.
The cause of the fire has still not been revealed as investigations are still ongoing, but North Wales Police have now released drone footage that shows the full extent of the damage caused by the fire.
Inspector Craig Jones from the Force’s Operational Planning Unit told our sister paper The Daily Post : “The drones are highly effective in capturing still or video images on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas. They allow officers to gain vital information, quickly and safely and to positively inform our decision making.
“The drones have a downlink which means officers on the ground can see live footage captured by the drone in the air. One recent example of this was the fire at the Gateway to Wales Hotel in Deeside where we assisted colleagues from the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
"We have been evaluating the drones over the last few months and we very much hope that we will be able to further develop the use of this technology in the near future.”
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “The drones offer a highly cost effective approach to help assist our officers. Being able to launch a drone in the air in a few minutes could help save lives and secure vital evidence if a crime was in progress.”
The hotel's first floor was completely destroyed by the blaze while 80% of the ground floor was severely damaged.
A statement on the hotel’s Facebook page just after the fire said: “Despite the unfortunate events, we are pleased that our emergency systems functioned well and all guests and staff were safely evacuated.
“In the short term, we are assessing the situation and will make a further statement once more is known including the cause which, as of now, is undetermined.”