With the William The Conqueror pub in Rye Harbour out of action until Wednesday February 24 while it is being refurbished by Shepherd Neame after the longstanding landlord “retired” last year, the area is going to be “dry” and pub-less for a few days after an outbreak of fire at the Inkerman Arms on last Monday, February 15.
The fire was quickly extinguished by firemen with two appliances, from Rye and Broad Oak community fire stations, rushing to the scene – but it left its mark. Initially reported as a chimney fire, the call came through at 8:58 am and it took just seven minutes for firemen to arrive on the scene, by which time the blaze had already spread into an upstairs bedroom.
A spark had apparently found its way into a redundant flue and set alight the back of a bedroom cabinet set against the fireplace, said Andy Polly, Watch Manager at Rye Fire Station. The fire was fought by four firemen wearing breathing apparatus and was swiftly brought under control.
The pub’s first floor living quarters were badly smoke-damaged, but the downstairs public rooms appeared not to be so much affected and it is hoped that they will soon be open again for business as usual. The pub was contacted and they hope to be open by the weekend.
It is more the effect the fire has had on the owners than damage to the bar area which will determine re-opening. The landlord confirmed that the bar was OK, but everything smelled of smoke.
This was not the first call-out of the day. Around 7:30 am, the team had been called to a road accident near Brede to free a motorist trapped in a car following a collision. But in the end, their aid was not required. Several new firemen have undergone training since vacancies were last reported in Rye News but the service is still seeking new recruits to replace staff nearing retirement, said Polly.
Photos: Kenneth Bird and Ray Prewer