Tenant hopes to reopen as soon as possible following pub fire in Wantage

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THE tenant of a pub that had to close due to a fire said he hopes to be able to welcome customers back as soon as possible.

Ian Crayford, who has been running the Chequers Inn pub in Charney Bassett, north of Wantage, with his wife Jacqui for 11 years, was woken up by a fire alarm just after 8am on Monday last week.

He discovered a fire in the letting rooms of the building, which date back to the 17th century.

He said: “I was woken up by the alarm going off and I went downstairs to switch it off but it went off again, so we knew there was something going on in the letting rooms and we saw the smoke coming out.

READ MORE: The Chequers Inn near Wantage closed after pub fire

“I grabbed the fire extinguisher and managed to put the fire out and we called the fire brigade immediately.

“The fire service were outstanding, four emergency vehicles turned up in just 11 minutes – they were very efficient and it turned out it was a fault in the main electric unit. We can’t live in the building at the moment so we had to go somewhere else.

“Brakspear, who own the pub, have been very good at supporting us and there’s people working there at the moment to fix the problems so we are hopeful.

“To our customers, we want to say that we hope we can go back to normal as soon as possible.”

After the fire, he posted a message online, saying: “Thanks to the quick response of the fire service, the fire was put out safely and no one was hurt. It could have been lot worse if left for five more minutes.

“There’s damage to the electrical boards which means we are closed until this has been sorted.

“We are hoping to be back open next weekend, but please bear with us and will keep you up to date with the progress.”

Following the message, villagers said online that they hoped the pub would reopen as soon as possible.  

READ MORE: The number of coronavirus cases in Oxfordshire this week

Pauline Clark said: “So very sorry to hear this. We have just been over as we didn’t see this but we are glad all is ok. Just thankful everyone is safe.”

Melissa Moody said: “What an awful time for you all but thank goodness it was put out before it got any worse. Take care and see you soon.”

Gerald Winder, business development manger at Brakspear, said it was difficult to know when the pub would be able to open again.

He said: “It’s difficult to say at the moment but we hope it will be by the end of this week. We had to relocate the energy supply withing the pub and we hope that it will all be fixed by the end of the week.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi