The owner of a Bramber hotel sprung into action to extinguish a blaze that broke out in the early hours of this morning (Friday April 25).
The fire at the Castle Inn Hotel, in The Street, started in the boiler room at about 2.45am.
Eighty per cent of the building was damaged by smoke, while 40 per cent was damaged by the flames.
Rod Gates, crew manager at Shoreham fire station, said the blaze could have been more severe had the owner not acted quickly.
He said: “From what we were led to believe, the owner did a lot of work.
“The owner went to have a look and realised there was something in the laundry room, and he believed it to be at a stage where he could deal with it himself.
“It wasn’t the biggest job in the world but it quite easily could have been had it been left and not dealt with.”
The three storey building was evacuated and guests taken to a nearby hotel, said a spokesperson for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
Mr Gates said: “When we turned up, the premises was evacuated and a fire alarm was sounding. There was a smell of smoke but nothing visible.
“Two firefighters from Steyning were already in the property, making their way to the basement, to the laundry room where the fire was confirmed to be.
“We were then told the fire was out and we believe it was extinguished by the owner of the property.”
Two breathing apparatus, a hose reel and a thermal imaging camera were used by firefighters.
The electrics and gas supply was isolated.
The fire was ruled accidental.
Units from Steyning, Henfield and Shoreham attended the blaze, and left the scene at about 3.45am.