Huge fire guts pub

Matthew SparkesA huge blaze gutted an historic thatched-roof Norfolk pub and restaurant on Saturday evening.Matthew Sparkes

A huge blaze gutted an historic thatched-roof Norfolk pub and restaurant on Saturday evening .

An emergency call was made at 6.44pm and more than 15 appliances were called out to the 16th century Chequers Inn on Low Road in Bressingham, near Diss.

Fire crews from Norfolk and Suffolk took more than two hours to bring the flames under control, although much of the roof was destroyed.

Appliances were dispatched from Diss, Attleborough, Thetford, Watton, Eye, Ixworth, East Harling, Harleston, Stradbroke, Hethersett, Earlham and Long Stratton.

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Neighbour John Hubbard, 44, said the pub was ablaze when he returned home with his family on Saturday night and that fire fighters were working with hoses and ladders.

'We came back at about 7.30 and it was well alight by then,' he said.

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'Within a short time the flames were coming through the roof.'

'Someone said that all the mesh on the thatched roof was live, they had to cut the power off.'

'We walked around first thing in the morning and we were quite surprised how bad it was.'

Mr Hubbard and other nearby residents went without electrical power from 8pm to around 10.30pm, when normal service was restored.

On Sunday morning fire and police officers were still on the scene.

Roads around the pub were closed to traffic and diversions were in place.

The Chequers Inn was built early in the 16th century as a hostelry and has been open to the public ever since, except during the 60s and 70s when it was used as a family home.

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