Historic Shropshire pub destroyed by fire
An historic pub was completely destroyed by a huge fire today as the owners and neighbours watched on helplessly.
Ten foot flames ripped through The Tayleur Arms in Longdon upon Tern, near Wellington, in the early hours of the morning.
Business owners Richard and Eve Harvey, who are in their 40s, managed to escape in their night clothes, along with their 14-year-old son Elliot and some guests who were staying the night.
They then had to watch as fire tore through the property, parts of which are believed to be 300 years old.
The fire started in the laundry room and quickly spread to the back of the pub.
Today, the Tayleur Arm said on Facebook: "Unfortunately we had a major fire last night at the Tayleur. We are thankfull that richard n eve n their son escaped and are safe, howerver everything has gone in the fire. Its sad. We will obviously be closed for quite sometime."
Roy Williams, who lives opposite the pub, was woken by frantic landlady Mrs Harvey, who asked him to call the fire brigade.
He said Mr Harvey initially grabbed fire extinguishers but soon realised that the flames were out of control and his efforts were helpless.
Mr Williams, who has lived in Longdon upon Tern for 15 years, said: "We had to stand and watch the pub burn down.
"It started in the laundry room. Richard went to that end of the building and heard a crackling sound and saw some smoke coming through the door.
"He picked up some fire extinguishers but decided safety first."
Mr Williams said the pub was well alight by the time the first of 10 fire engines arrived at the scene.
He said: "The laundry roof was pretty much gone. It looked like it got into the roof cavity fairly quickly.
"It's completely gutted. They were still finding pockets of fire in the roof this morning.
"At one point the police asked us to go back to the house because they were concerned about an oil tank outside the pub.
"It seems the fire brigade had some trouble with water pressure so they had to pump from the River Tern 500 yards away."
Mr Williams invited Mr and Mrs Harvey into his home for hot drinks and toilet breaks.
He said Mrs Harvey was "devastated", while Mr Harvey, who is also the head chef at the pub, had to go to hospital as he had recently undergone surgery and had lost his medication in the blaze.
The couple's other son, Jake, is believed to have been away at the time.
Mr Williams said: "It's a sad day for Eve and Richard and for the village as a whole."
Another neighbour, John Price, of Sugden Lane, also rushed to the scene when he heard the alarms.
The 61-year-old said: "It was already well alight when I got there.
"The big hamper for the fire brigade seemed to be the lack of water pressure. There were lots of firefighters but they didn't have the means to fight the fire.
"Smoke gradually started to come through the roof and then you could see the bedroom windows start to glow orange.
"Eve was sat in the car watching. I took some coats out for the people there."
Mr and Mrs Harvey have been at the pub for about five years.
Neighbours said they have built up a strong reputation during their time in charge.
Ten fire engines attended the blaze from Wellington, Shrewsbury, Tweedale, Hodnet, Telford, Oswestry and Newport.
A spokeswoman from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Fire control took a number of calls at 2.30am this morning reporting that The Tayleur Arms public house was involved in fire.
"Initially three appliances and an officer were mobilised, but due to the severity of the fire, they quickly requested additional support. At the height of the fire there were 10 fire engines.
"Further investigations are ongoing and will continue to be carried out by officers.
"In addition the Fire & Emergency Support Service vehicle, which is staffed by volunteers from The British Red Cross, was also mobilised to offer support and shelter to the owners of the property."
- For more coverage see today's Shropshire Star
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