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21 October 2014, 11:51
Smouldering dead flies which had been zapped by an electric insect killer are being blamed for starting a fire at Crathorne Hall.
Large parts of the Grade II listed hotel near Yarm were left gutted by the blaze when the burning bugs landed on flammable material in the loft.
The flames then quickly took hold and at its height around 100 firefighters were trying to put it out.
No-one was injured in the incident, which happened on October 1st, but much of the east wing of the hotel was destroyed.
Alan Bell, station master at North Yorkshire Fire Service (NYFS) said:
"It's a bit unusual. We know it was in the area that the fire started.
There was an issue with flies in that part of the hotel - that's why it was put up there.''
Lord Crathorne, who used to own the hotel but still lives on the grounds, has since said he would like to thank the firefighters by organising a party for them.
A NYFS spokesman said:
"Following investigations into the cause of the fire at Crathorne we consider the most probable cause of the fire to be an electric fly killer in the roof space of the east wing of the hotel.
Whilst other possible causes cannot be fully eliminated we are confident that the cause of the fire was accidental.''
A message on the hotel's website said it would be closed until Monday November 10th while essential remedial work is carried out.