After a week of investigations police are still not sure of the cause of the Bolton Moat House hotel fire in which an elderly couple died.
The fire started on the third floor of the hotel between midnight and 12.30am, among three mattresses which were propped up against the wall outside the room of William and Margaret Robertson from Blackpool, who died from smoke inhalation.
Detective Superintendent Dave Jones of Bolton CID said: "It would appear there is a human element to the cause of the fire, but whether this is malicious or accidental is still unknown."
Damage to the building and the cost of repairs is still being assessed. Bolton fire station officer Jeff Gill said: "The majority of the damage is on the third floor corridor between two sets of fire doors. Other floors were clogged with smoke."
A Moat House Hotels spokesman said: "The Bolton Moat House is closed and will not be trading for the next four to eight weeks."
Employees have been moved to other Moat House hotels in the area.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 3-9 May 2001