FIREFIGHTERS from four counties rushed to tackle a ferocious blaze on Wednesday evening as a fire ripped through the former Madison Hotel near the A419.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene at the hotel near the White Hart roundabout at 6pm.

Shocked bystanders watched from the adjacent footbridge as black smoke rose from the disused building – emergency crews tried to shepherd people away to protect them from the smoke.

A spokesperson for Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said that nine fire crews descended on the scene as they worked frantically to try to control the flames.

Two fire crews from Swindon were joined by others from Stratton, Westlea, Chippenham, Malmesbury, Fairford, Cirencester and Faringdon.

They were supported by water carriers from Royal Wootton Bassett and Ramsbury, aerial appliances from Swindon and Gloucester, and an incident command vehicle from Stratton.

Five main jets and two water towers were used to tackle the blaze, fortunately no injuries were reported.

A spokesperson for the South Western Ambulance Service said: “We received a call from emergency service colleagues in the fire service at 7.10pm to go to the Madison Hotel, Oxford Road.

“There are no reports of any patients. We sent an operations officer and an ambulance as a precaution.”

Once the smoke had died down our reporter on the scene described the hotel as “gutted”.

Police closed Oxford Road from the White Hart roundabout to the roundabout at Sainsbury's which caused serious congestion on the roads.

The hotel, located on Oxford Road, closed in June 2014, leaving about 30 staff jobless.

At the time it was announced that a buyer is yet to be finalised, and that negotiations were ongoing, but it was thought that a developer would step in.

Last month there was a suspected arson attack in an outbuilding at the same site as well as a spate of other attacks in the area with fires started at the derelict Selena House Care Home in Oxford Road as well as the grounds of Swindon College.

Peter Mackenzie, night shift manager at Stratton Sainsbury’s, said store colleagues Naz Spencer and Tracey Grimley had been taking sandwiches and drinks over to the firefighters to keep them refreshed.

He said the store had remained open throughout. However, they had closed down the petrol station as a precaution.

A fire investigation will start once the blaze is fully extinguished and the scene is safe.