Landlord's devastation at pub blaze

A LANDLORD has told of his devastation after a fire ripped through his picturesque 16th Century pub in the early hours of the morning.

James Hore

A LANDLORD has told of his devastation after a fire ripped through his picturesque 16th Century pub in the early hours of the morning.

Firefighters from across north Essex were called to The Old Anchor pub in Feering, near Kelvedon after neighbours spotted smoke coming from the roof.

The blaze, which was reported at 2.45am, ripped through the listed building causing severe damage to the bar area and living quarters and it will now be closed until further notice.

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It was initially thought people could be trapped because there was an unmade bed, but landlord Callum Christie told the EADT no-one had been in at the time of the blaze.

Firefighters using 20 sets of breathing apparatus and a thermal imaging camera worked through the building.

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It took about three-and-a-half hours before the fire was out, although crews remained at the scene yesterday morning damping down and an investigation was launched.

An investigation into the cause has been launched, although the outcome has yet to be made public.

At the popular pub tiles lay smashed on the ground where firefighters had pulled them down to get to the flames.

Mr Christie, who has been landlord for 16 months, said: “I was out at the time, but my life was in that pub. I can't believe what has happened.

“No-one knows what the cause was, I am just waiting for the fire report to come back.

The firefighters did think someone was in there at first because one of the accommodation rooms had been slept in, but there was no-one in the building.”

Mr Christie said he would have to wait until he had more information about the extent of the damage before announcing when he would be able to reopen.

His head chef, Debbie Palmer, said: “I am pretty gutted to be quite honest. It is really, really sad to look at it, but it is so, so, lucky that no-one was in there when it happened.”

Station officer Ian Adams said: “There is damage to the ground-floor and the first-floor living quarters.

“The fire developed through the building and worked its way through the roof.

“The crews did a great job and we had 20 wearing breathing apparatus and the fire was well developed in there.

“I would recommend that everyone gets a smoke alarm - luckily no-one was in the building but early warnings do save lives.”

Crews from Coggeshall, Tiptree, Witham, Colchester and Braintree attended.

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