A Michelin-starred restaurant in a 14th-century thatched inn has been “reduced to ashes” after fire broke out in its roof.
Firefighters spent the night tackling the devastating blaze at the Star Inn at Harome, near Helmsley in North Yorkshire.
The chef and owner Andrew Pern tweeted footage of the fire at 4.17am. “It’s been a long night so far,” he said. “I’m afraid we won’t be open for a while as we are reduced to ashes with the Star on fire and still burning.”
Pern said he received a call after 10pm to say the straw roof was on fire. “With it being a 14th-century thatched pub, it didn’t really stand a chance once the fire had got hold,” he told BBC Radio York. “It is still burning now, eight hours later.”
He praised employees for their early attempts to put out the blaze. “It was smouldering at first and the staff did a brilliant job, they grabbed all the fire extinguishers, got a hosepipe from the cellar, they did an amazing job themselves.
“But with the thatch and the straw and beams that are 700-800 years old, it didn’t stand a chance really.”
Pern said he had no idea how the fire started but the thatched roof was the perfect fuel. “It’s one of those things. You always think, I hope I never have a fire, it is one of those risks you have with a thatched property.”
North Yorkshire fire and rescue service said crews attended the fire at 10.13pm on Tuesday and all of the occupants were out of the building on arrival. At its height there were nine fire engines and one aerial ladder in attendance. A spokesperson said: “The incident was scaled back to seven fire engines and the aerial ladder platform at around 5.45am.
“The incident is still ongoing and crews are still working to extinguish the fire in the roof using hose reel jets and 45mm jets. There is no cause at this time, but fire investigation officers will be attending the incident this morning.”
The Star Inn, on the edge of the North York Moors, has won many awards including UK gastropub of the year. It has held a Michelin star for much of Pern’s 25-year tenure.
Pern, a finalist with Tom Kerridge in the BBC’s Great British Menu in 2011, estimated it may take a year to get the main dining area up and running again. A newer section of the pub “should be OK, so we’ll be able to function in a fashion, somehow.”
The Michelin Guide praises the Star Inn as “one of our most delightful places” in a building that oozes character. “While the restaurant side has a plush, luxurious feel, it’s still very much the village local and you’ll find the regulars supping on a pint of bespoke ‘Two Chefs’ beer in the characterful bar.”