Police and the fire service have joined forces to conduct an investigation into what caused a devastating blaze at a Deeside hotel.
The Gateway to Wales hotel, an iconic building on the North Wales border in Garden City, was engulfed in flames in the early hours of this morning, prompting 47 guests and members of staff to be evacuated.
More than 60 firefighters worked to extinguish the inferno, which destroyed the first floor of the hotel, the roof and 80% of the ground floor - but thankfully there were no casualties.
Stuart Millington, senior operations manager at North Wales Fire Service, said:"Our fire investigators are speaking to local residents and to people in the building," he said.
"The building is quite badly damaged and therefore their ability to get in and take their investigation safely will take some time."
Sealand county councillor Christine Jones told our sister paper the Daily Post: “It is horrible. The whole community is in shock – this could have been an absolute tragedy. Forty-seven lives could have been lost. I thank God that everyone is okay and that is thanks to the actions of the hotel’s night porter and our amazing firefighters. The main thing is nobody has been killed – it could have been so much worse."
She added: “There were four children being temporarily housed by Flintshire County Council and our teams from social services and housing are supporting them. They have been fantastic and are doing everything they can.
“The flats nearby were only moved in to a week ago – it is awful just a week before Christmas.”