Staff at a burning seafront hotel have been praised for their swift actions in getting everyone out quickly.

The fire, which broke out on Friday morning at a Victorian hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex, is now under control.

At the height of the blaze, 12 fire engines were battling the flames at the Claremont hotel.

Six people were treated for minor injuries and one person was taken to Eastbourne Hospital with breathing difficulties, the ambulance service said.

Nearby residents have been warned by the fire service to keep doors and windows closed.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called at 8.52am to reports of a fire in the hotel’s basement.

The hotel was evacuated safely and everyone has been accounted for, the fire service confirmed.

Sea water has been pumped from the beach to be used by firefighters tackling the blaze.

Incident commander and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews said: “The fire spread from the basement through to the upper floors.

“There is considerable smoke in the area and we are advising people to keep doors and windows closed.

“We will now work to ensure that the fire is completely put out.

“This will take several hours and so the roads in the area are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from other agencies who have helped us deal with this complex incident.

“The swift actions of the hotel staff meant everyone got out of the hotel safely, and we thank them for their efforts.”

The building has been seriously damaged and will need to be examined by building experts before a decision is made about its future, the fire service said.

The cause of the fire will be investigated.

Guests who were staying at the Claremont hotel have been taken to Eastbourne Town Hall where refreshments and help are available, a spokesman for Eastbourne Borough Council said.

The spokesman added: “Our Neighbourhood First and housing needs’ teams, and other specialists, are on hand and we are liaising with our partners.”