The Tasmanian Fire Service received the call at 3.15am and arrived at the scene 15 minutes later. More than 30 firefighters from Swansea, Triabunna and Bicheno battled the blaze for four hours until it was brought under control at 7.30am. No one was injured. The building's facade and accommodation wing were all that remained. The public bar, saloon bar, kitchen, dining room and manager's residence were destroyed. Ten people staying in the hotel were immediately evacuated and accommodated at the Swansea Motor Inn next door. The fire was believed to have started in the kitchen, and although the cause has not been established, there were no suspicious circumstances. Licensee Kerry Derby said that the hotel was the second-largest employer in Swansea, with 18 staff. "They are all out of a job now and I feel sorry for them," he said. Mr Derby added that $6000 a week in lost wages would have an impact on the town's economy, though he was very grateful for the circumstances that probably saved his life. "I wasn't asleep. I woke up about 2am and turned on the television," Mr Derby said. "About 3am I could smell smoke. "When I went out to investigate, it was just a small fire at the back of the building, so I called the fire brigade thinking they would have it out in no time. "But then it just took off. I've never seen a fire move so fast. "A lot of irreplaceable things have been lost. Even the bench seats in front of the pub were 140 years old. "A lot of history has gone up in smoke." The speed at which the fire gathered momentum was said to have been due to very old and dry original western red cedar in the roof and huon pine ceilings throughout the building. The timber was part of the original construction in 1841. The Tasmania Police investigation unit was on the scene and will continue its investigations over the next few days.