Party goes on despite blaze

DESPITE a blaze in a country pub the drama failed to dampen party spirits.Fire fighters were called to The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham to tackle a wood burner alight – just before a party of diners were due to arrive.

DESPITE a blaze in a country pub the drama failed to dampen party spirits.

Fire fighters were called to The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham to tackle a wood burner alight - just before a party of diners were due to arrive.

Their swift action meant the venue opened just in time to greet the 24 guests who had booked in for a lunch.

The fire started in lounge bar of the 14th century thatched pub near Hollesley.

Ken Johnston, landlord of the pub for five years, said: "I lit the wood burner and went out to the car park when I heard a roaring noise. It was a hell of a noise.

"I looked into the pub and saw clouds of smoke all over the place. I was worried because we had people coming into the pub."

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Quick thinking Mr Johnston closed the flue to stop the blaze spreading and telephoned the fire brigade.

The smoke cleared just before opening hours.

John Rideout of the Suffolk Churches Group which is part of University of the Third Age in East Bergholt, was one of the group who had booked in for a meal.

He said: "We did worry when we arrived at the pub to see three fire engines. We thought it was a chip pan fire.

"We thought we had better see if the pub could take us. They could and we thought they coped very well.

"We had a lovely meal."

Mr Johnson praised the fire service for their swift action.

He said: "I don't know why the fire happened as we had a new liner put in a year ago and we had the wood burner checked just before Christmas."

He joked: "Next time we will be offering smoked food."

He said the chimney will be inspected before it is used again.

One engine from Woodbridge, one from Ipswich and a turntable ladder from Ipswich attended.

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