Somerset

Castle Inn in West Coker badly damaged by roof fire

The fire-damaged Castle Inn, West Coker
Image caption Fire crews are expected to remain on site for much of Thursday

A fire which badly damaged a pub in Somerset has been put out.

Emergency services were called to the Castle Inn, West Coker, on Wednesday afternoon following reports the building's thatched roof was on fire.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the roof and first floor had collapsed but the walls were still intact.

The A30 remains closed between Haselbury and the Bunford Hollow roundabout in Yeovil due to the blaze.

The fire was still burning on Thursday morning but by lunchtime the fire service said it had been extinguished.

'Smell overwhelming'

BBC reporter Sam Read said the normally-busy road was covered in foam and thatch.

He said: "The stone walls of the Castle are still standing with one of the three chimneys looking rather precarious in the middle of where the thatched roof was.

"The smell is overwhelming - the whole of the village just stinks of burning."

Incident commander Duncan White said when the brigade arrived there was a "rapidly-developing" fire in the roof.

He said extra resources were quickly called to do everything possible to mitigate the damage.

"Crews worked to strip and salvage everything from the building and then concentrated on stopping the fire from spreading to the restaurant and skittle alley area," he added.

Firefighters are expected to be on site for much of Thursday damping down, but fire investigators will not be able to get into the building until it has been made safe.

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