DOZENS of people had to be evacuated from a New England hotel on Thursday night after a fire broke out inside the building.
Customers and staff were forced out from the Great Central Hotel when smoke started billowing into the building from a blocked chimney.
Fire and Rescue NSW crews rushed to the scene, and on arrival found flames and embers coming from the chimney of the two-story hotel.
A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesperson said 35 people inside had their meals and drinks interrupted as staff evacuated the premises before firefighters arrived.
"Firefighters in breathing apparatus entered the building and found the restaurant area heavily inundated with smoke, which was caused by a blocked chimney from an open wood fire," the spokesperson said.
Crews got to work with extinguishing the fire and ventilating the building and checked there was no heat or fire extension from the chimney on the second floor or in the roof cavity."
The scene was declared safe shortly after and handed back to the owners.
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