FIREFIGHTERS' tireless work last night (Saturday) is evident this morning ­— with the Ocean Hotel still standing following a major fire.

Scores of firefighters tackled a fire at the derelict Sandown hotel last night, when a large area of the town was closed off to the public.

Fire crews from Sandown, Shanklin, Ryde, Newport, Ventnor, East Cowes and Cowes were all called to the scene.

Eight fire appliances and two aerial ladder platforms were involved, as well as police and ambulance.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Picture by Sandown resident, Stephen Sheaf.

It has now been confirmed no one was injured, and an investigation into the source of the fire is ongoing.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Eyewitnesses told the County Press flames were being fanned by strong winds on the seafront.

They said members of the public on the beach were soon told to move back, over fears an explosion could take place.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Buses were severely disrupted, with the High Street closed and a diversion via the Broadway unavailable due to a one-way restriction.

One County Press reader en-route to Sandown said they had to disembark at Yarbridge, such was the disruption in the town.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Residents were later told by firefighters to close their windows and doors.

This morning (Sunday), police remain on site, and the rapid response from the Isle of Wight's emergency services ensured the hotel remains largely intact.

Fire crews stood down at 4.30am, and will return to the scene this morning to reinspect.

Isle of Wight County Press:

It is hoped the historical elements of the building have not been destroyed forever.

Sgt Sharland of Hampshire Constabulary said: "I would like to say thank you to the public and press, who were supportive and understanding as we closed off large areas of the town to create safe working space for the Fire Service and ensure the public remained safe from the fallout of smoke.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"It was wonderful to see the Public spirit in Sandown and support for our emergency services.

"I would like to comment on the fantastic efforts of our fire service, who have managed to bring such a ferocious fire under control so quickly and contain it to the building.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"I am always in awe of our friends in red and their bravery facing such a destructive force."

The former Carlauren-owned hotel changed hands last month (April) and has been derelict for a number of years.

It was taken over by squatters earlier this year, concerned about the state of the former hotel.

They eventually left after being assured about its future by those in charge of the property.

Before that, it was the target of mindless vandalism while it laid empty.