Did a ghost spark Cambs hotel fire?
A GHOST could be a suspect in a fire that gutted part of a 400-year-old grade II listed hotel and caused staff and guests to flee from the flames. Ten people, including three guests, escaped from the George Hotel in High Street, Ramsey, after a fire broke
A GHOST could be a suspect in a fire that gutted part of a 400-year-old grade II listed hotel and caused staff and guests to flee from the flames.
Ten people, including three guests, escaped from the George Hotel in High Street, Ramsey, after a fire broke out at 3.40am on Friday (May 8).
They were alerted by a smoke alarm system that had been fitted just the previous day.
The blaze started in a storage room on the top floor and spread to the roof space, damaging the oldest section of the hotel, which dates back to the 1600s.
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Hotel cook Jean Axelsen, 61, told The Hunts Post: "There's no way of knowing it's a paranormal event, but there are a lot of coincidences."
The George is said to be haunted and the room where the fire started is believed to be home to a ghost who died in a fire in that room in the 1600s. While her real identity is unknown, the Axelsen family refer to her as Mary and believe she is a former landlady. They say she is harmless, but mischievous.
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However, there have been other guests residing at the hotel, Jean said, and to get rid of the spirits, the section of the hotel damaged in the fire was blessed last year.
"It is strange that the fire was contained to that one room and did not spread," she said. "Also nothing electrical is plugged in up there as it is only used for storage.
"It is at the back of my mind that it could have been something more but Mary would never hurt us and she hates fire. She died of smoke inhalation so she wouldn't have wanted another fire.
"She hates fire so much she steals people's lighters and blows out candles."
Her daughter and hotel manager Louise Axelsen, 29, added: "We do not mind Mary, you get used to having her around.
"If you work here, then you are aware that you are also working with ghosts."
The fire service has said the blaze, which has forced the George to close one of its restaurants, was electrical.
Jean's son, Carl, attempted to fight the flames. After fleeing from the building the 19-year-old ran back inside and tried to tackle the blaze with a fire extinguisher.
However, the smoke was too thick and he had to retreat outside where he was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon after suffering smoke inhalation.
Carl told The Hunts Post: "I'm not a brave person, but the adrenalin just kicked in and all I could think about was saving my home and my family's business."
Since the blaze all the family have had trouble sleeping.
Jean added: "It was really hard watching the flames rising out of the roof and seeing the top window get blown out, it looked like we were going to lose everything."
Despite the fire and the paranormal visitors, the Axelsen family want customers to know it is business as usual at the George.
Louise said: "We have worked hard to make sure we stay open and keep trading. Yes, the fire has been devastating and it has set us back, but you cannot keep us down.