Fire crews from over 20 stations tackle pub blaze

It was a busy Easter Sunday for fire crews from across Devon and Somerset as they fought a thatched roof fire at a newly-refurbished pub.

Crews from Honiton, Sidmouth, Colyton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Axminster, Crediton, Danes Castle, Taunton, Wiveliscombe, Cullompton, Newton Abbot, Chard, Wellington, Middlemoor, Exmouth, Bridport, Martock, Lyme Regis and Charmouth fire station attended the White Hart pub in Wilmington, near Honiton, ensuring the fire did not spread further into the building.

Eight engines were originally called to the fire just before noon but the ferocity of the fire meant other appliances were needed including a water carrier, aerial ladder platform, welfare unit, high volume pump, incident command unit, environmental protection unit and an incident support unit.

The A35 has been closed since lunchtime due to the incident.

Another four pumping appliances were also called.

Crews created a fire break in the thatch and used four compressed air foam lances, four ladders, six breathing apparatus and four hose reel jets to fight the blaze.

The pub’s thatched roof was devastated by the fire
(Image: Martock Fire Station)

By 2pm there were 15 pumps working on the pub, which was taken on by new owners in November 2020. They have recently undertaken a full refurbishment of the premises.

At 4.30pm the fire had been reduced to eight fire engines from Bridgwater, Bampton, Witheridge, Dawlish, Ashburton, Yeovil, Crewkerne and Paignton.

The last update by Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service at 5.25pm stated that steady progress was still being made, crews were finalising the stripping of thatch from the roof and preparing to cover it with salvage sheets.

Photographs show the thatched roof devastated by the fire. The building has been declared structurally safe and the road has now reopened after debris was cleared and investigation work completed.

Catch up on the full drama with our live blog here.

Devon Live