Exeter city centre hotel evacuated after smoke bomb let off

Fire engines outside of an Exeter hotel
Emergency services at an Exeter Premier Inn evacuation -Credit:Submitted

An Exeter hotel was evacuated after a smoke bomb was let off in a bathroom over the Bank Holiday weekend. Around 200 guests were reportedly forced to leave their rooms in the middle of the night as emergency services were called to the scene.

At 4.33am on Monday (May 6) Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue crews were called to the Premier Inn in Exeter city centre after smoke and fire alarms were triggered in a fourth-floor hotel room. Four fire engines attended the suspected fire at the hotel in Southernhay as it was fully evacuated.

Firefighters located the source of the smoke and found it was not a fire, but a smoke bomb which had been let off in a bathroom. One person was rescued from the hotel room and given oxygen by firefighters before being taken to hospital by the ambulance service.

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Fire crews used a pressure ventilation fan to clear the room of smoke. The hotel bathroom was 100 per cent damaged by smoke, and the rest of the room suffered 20 per cent smoke damage.

An eyewitness has told DevonLive over 200 people were evacuated from the Premier Inn. They said: “Emergency evacuation of the hotel. 200 plus people were evacuated at 4am Monday morning while hotel staff and the emergency services attended.

“People were left outside for over an hour, including young families and old people, due to the ongoing incident. It was attending by three fire engines, police and ambulance”.

A spokesperson for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said: “At 4.33am on Monday 6 May, we were called to reports of smoke and fire alarms sounding in a fourth-floor hotel room at Southernhay Gardens in Exeter. Four appliances from Danes Castle and Middlemoor fire stations attended and on arrival a full evacuation was in progress.

“Crews used breathing apparatus to locate the source of the smoke, which was not a fire but a smoke bomb that had been let off in a bathroom. One person was rescued from the hotel room and given oxygen by crews before being handed over to an ambulance to be taken to hospital.

“A positive pressure ventilation fan was used to clear the smoke from the property. The bathroom of the hotel room was 100% damaged by smoke, the rest of the room 20% damaged by smoke.”

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: "Police were called to assist the fire service at a hotel in Exeter on Monday at around 4.30am following a report of smoke seen. The cause of the smoke is believed to be deliberate and enquiries remain ongoing to establish the full circumstances."

Premier Inn has been contacted for comment.