Fire-struck hotel shut during probe
A five-star hotel that has played host to prime ministers and presidents remains closed this afternoon, 24 hours after staff and guests were forced to evacuate as a fire took hold.
An internal investigation has begun at the scene of the renowned Macdonald Randolph Hotel in Oxford City centre following the blaze.
A hotel spokesman said the 19th century hotel remains closed and that "all guests have been accommodated elsewhere".
Nobody was injured in the blaze, which is believed to have started accidentally in the kitchen.
A spokesman for Macdonald Hotels said: "We can confirm that emergency services are attending a fire at the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in Oxford.
"Our immediate priority was to conduct the safe evacuation of all our guests and staff within the property. This was successfully completed with no reported casualties.
"We are working with the emergency services who are on site and our ongoing priority is the safety of the local community, its residents and surrounding properties.
"An internal investigation has already begun to establish the cause of the incident."
Emergency services remain at the scene, while forensic officers were seen entering the building this morning.
Thames Valley Police said there were no injuries following the blaze. At its height, 14 fire engines were called to tackle the blaze on Beaumont Street following initial reports of the fire shortly after 4.30pm yesterday.
A police spokesman said the fire is believed to have started in the kitchen. The circumstances are not thought to be suspicious.
Motorists have been asked to stay clear of the area as cordons remain in place.
The hotel's website said it has played host to prime ministers and presidents while its renowned Morse Bar is recognisable as the watering hole of TV's Inspector Morse.
South Central Ambulance Service and Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were all called to the incident.
Superintendent Christian Bunt said: "Following a fire at the Randolph Hotel, a major incident has been declared. We are supporting our colleagues in Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service who are at the scene.
"We are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum and would like to thank members of the public for their patience and their cooperation.
"Road closures in the area will remain in place. Officers are working to try to enable the city to return to normality as quickly as possible."
The hotel declined to comment when contacted this morning.