Hotelier speaks of fire heart-break

A DISTRAUGHT hotelier whose business was devastated by a ferocious fire today told of his heart-break.Italian-born Agnello Gargiulo, who owns the Tarantella Hotel in Sudbury with brother Domenico, also revealed his hope that the blaze was not started deliberately.

A DISTRAUGHT hotelier whose business was devastated by a ferocious fire today told of his heart-break.

Italian-born Agnello Gargiulo, who owns the Tarantella Hotel in Sudbury with brother Domenico, also revealed his hope that the blaze was not started deliberately.

An investigation was launched yesterday after fire chiefs admitted the cause of the fire could be suspicious.

Mr Gargiulo, who struggled to contain his sadness at the drama, said the Tarantella had been owned by his family since 1980.

“I'm totally gutted,” the 49-year-old said. “We have built the place up - it's our life.

“It's surreal. I never thought anything like this could happen.

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“The police can't say anything at the moment, but I hope it's not malicious because if it is I do not understand why.

“If it was an accident, I will look at it in a different way. But otherwise, I won't feel safe if someone has something against us.”

Mr Gargiulo's brother was expected to return to England today following a break in Spain with wife Rosalind.

Such was the ferocity of the raging inferno, which was reported at 3.45am yesterday, that severe damage has been caused to the roof and first and second floors.

More than 100 firefighters battled with the flames, while dozens of police were dispatched to cordon off the area and close nearby roads.

Mr Gargiulo said it was too early to say whether the ruins of the 12-bedroom hotel could be refurbished.

Insurers were due to assess the scale of the damage today.

Fortunately, the hotel, which is popular with wedding parties, was empty at the time of the incident.

“I couldn't sleep after police told me what had happened,” Mr Gargiulo said.

“We have a really busy February and March and if the records have been destroyed I won't even be able to tell people they can't come.

“It's too shocking to even think about when we could open again.”

Do you have a message of support for the owners of the Tarantella? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk