The Star Inn at Harome near Helmsley, on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, went up in flames last night. Emergency crews battled against the fire for more than seven hours. In a tweet at 4.17am this morning, The Star Inn said: “It’s been a long night so far… 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”.
Chef Andrew Pern told the BBC the 14th century venue’s straw roof was “perfect” fuel for a fire and the building “didn’t stand a chance” once it took hold.
He said: “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.
“There was nobody in the property, nobody hurt at all.”
Michelin-starred Tommy Banks, chef director at The Black Swan at Oldstead eight miles away, described the news as devastating.
He tweeted: “Our thoughts are with you and the whole team”.
Twitter user Michele Hutchinson-Brown said: “So sad to hear this news. Glad everyone is safe. I am sure Andrew Pern and his family will pull through this like the Phoenix and rise up to shine even better and brighter stars than before.”
The Michelin Guide describes The Star Inn as a stylish, personally run pub with a cosy bar in a thatched building which “oozes character” with its low beamed ceilings. Its restaurant is hailed for its “plush, luxurious feel” while the inn remains “very much the village local”.
The extent of the damage was laid bare this morning with most of the thatched roof destroyed and bare rafters exposed.
All the occupants had left the inn by the time firefighters arrive. North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service was alerted at 10.13pm on Wednesday.
At its peak, there were nine fire engines at the scene with an aerial ladder deployed to remove thatch from the roof in a bid to stop the fire’s spread.
The incident was scaled back to seven appliances and an aerial ladder platform at 5.45am.
Fire investigation officers visited the site this morning, but the cause has yet to be confirmed.
One section of roof and the ground floor were saved from the flames with the fire service saying that, by 12pm today, crews had finished damping down hot spots.
North Yorkshire Police has been called in to help with the investigation.