Northampton

Towcester wedding venue 'significantly damaged' in fire

Plum Park Hotel
Image caption The fire at Plum Park Hotel broke out at about 20:00 GMT on Monday

A fire has caused "significant damage" at a Victorian manor house and wedding venue.

The blaze at Plum Park Hotel near Towcester, Northamptonshire, started at about 20:00 GMT on Monday.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) said the most severe damage was to the ground floor of the building, which was unoccupied.

An eight-mile stretch of the nearby A5 was closed for more than seven hours as 30 firefighters tackled the fire.

It was reopened by the Highways Agency by 04:00 GMT.

The owners, who were not in the building at the time, told the BBC they were "absolutely devastated".

They said they would be assessing the damage before contacting people with wedding or event bookings to tell them if they could still go ahead.

Image caption Plum Park Hotel is a popular wedding venue

Mark Herring, 59, saw fire engines arriving at the hotel in Paulerspury as he drove home from work at 20:30 GMT.

"It looked like something you'd see in a film. The flames were creeping up the outside of the building, and there was a black plume of smoke," he said.

"The fire service have done a great job to contain it because from what I saw last night I was expecting it to be an empty shell."

The first floor of the building also suffered some damage.

Group commander Kev Hardwick, of NFRS, said the age of the building and the wooden parts of the structure made it a complex fire.

"[Older buildings] tend to have changed around over the years, so fire can travel through old voids, up behind wood cladding," he said.

"It's really difficult to check the fire's spread."

There were not thought to be any suspicious circumstances, the fire service said, but investigators will examine the scene.

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