Norfolk

14th Century inn 'extensively damaged' in fire

Fire crews at scene of blaze
Image caption The pub said no-one was injured in the fire

A 14th Century thatched roof coaching inn in Norfolk has been extensively damaged in a fire.

Crews were called to The Ingham Swan, near Stalham, just before 02:00 BST after being alerted by a neighbour in a nearby property .

Fire service spokesman John Baker said the fire was "fully developed" in the roof when they arrived at the pub, which also has accommodation.

The pub said no-one was was injured in the blaze.

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At the height of the blaze, around 60 firefighters were at the scene, with six appliances from across north Norfolk.

Image caption The inn is popular with locals and visitors to the Broads

Mr Baker said some of the thatched roof had fallen into the property and crews remained on site, damping down.

"We need to make sure there is no fire below so we will gradually go from one end to the other to minimise any fire spread," he said.

"Because of the direction of the wind, by the time crews got there it was too late to make an intervention as we would usually do."

Image caption The road will remain closed while the building is assessed
Image caption BBC Radio Norfolk visited the pub when Mr Smith was on BBC Two's Great British Menu

The road has been closed while structural engineers assess the building.

An investigation will be held into the cause of the blaze.

Image caption The 600-year-old thatched pub was gutted in the fire

Daniel Smith and business partner Gregory Adjemian took on the management of the Ingham Swan in 2010.

They purchased the freehold from Woodforde's Brewery three years later.

In 2016 Mr Smith appeared on BBC Two's Great British Menu, reaching the finals of his heat.

Image caption Chef patron Daniel Smith said it was a blessing no-one was injured

In a statement, Mr Smith said the building had suffered extensive damage and would be "closed for a period of time". He added that customers with bookings would be contacted.

"We are confident that The Ingham Swan will be back better and stronger than ever before," he said.

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