The manager of a luxury Oxford hotel says Friday’s blaze on the premises was probably caused by a cook adding too much brandy to a sauce for a beef stroganoff. The Randolph Hotel’s Michael Grange said initial investigations seemed to point to a cook turning the sauce into a flambé with liberal doses of French cognac.
Mr Grange stated that only five per cent of the Randolph’s structure had been damaged in the blaze. He said 80 people on the premises were evacuated and nobody was injured. He finished off by saying guests were provided with alternate accommodation in hotels operated by sister establishments in the Macdonald group.
The fire at the historic five-star establishment quickly spread after it erupted on Friday afternoon. Simon Furlong is the assistant chief officer with the Oxford Brigade. He says that while the fire in the kitchen was extinguished by staff, the flames spread to offices on the first floor and then a funnel effect saw the flames sucked outside and up to the roof.
Mr Furlong continued by saying a gap in the structure had three sides and in effect acted as a chimney. He added that he believed the fact the flames had gone straight to the roof had saved the interior of the Randolph from serious damage.
The 150-year-old Victorian edifice is situated on central Oxford’s Beaumont Street. After the fire had been put out, fire officers remained at the scene to ensure the safety of the public until traffic diversions were in place. Contractors were at the hotel over the weekend putting up scaffolding so that inspections and repairs could be carried out.