Fire devastates Thwaites pub after £1m transformation

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Aftermath: the Grill & Grain has been gutted by fire (pic:@Pirateofchance)
Aftermath: the Grill & Grain has been gutted by fire (pic:@Pirateofchance)

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A Thwaites food pub and microbrewery in Hoghton, Lancashire, has been devastated by a fire that tore through the building just months after a £1m refurbishment.

Smoke was seen coming from the roof of the Grill & Grain at the Boatyard on Riley Green yesterday (12 April), before firefighters were called to tackle the blaze that has destroyed most of the building’s roof and has gutted its interior.

At its worst, more than 60 firefighters and eight fire engines tackled the blaze, using a cherry picker, according to the local fire service.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service told the Lancashire Post​: “The building was engulfed in flames and lots of it is destroyed. Thankfully, no one was trapped in the building and there were no injuries.

“The cause of the fire is unknown. We had more than 60 firemen and women there but the roof and lots of the inside has been destroyed by the fire."

Safety first

The spokesman continued: “An investigation into how it started won’t begin until it’s safe to enter the building, which could take some time.”

A statement on the pub’s website yesterday read: “We are currently working with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service after a fire started at Grill & Grain at the Boatyard in Riley Green at around 11.45am.

“As you can appreciate, our priority is the safety of our guests and staff and, as soon as the fire was discovered, everyone was immediately evacuated from the building. The fire service is still at the scene, so we can’t comment further at this time.”

The pub reopened in November last year after a £1m refurbishment of the site, formerly called the Boatyard.

New features included a large wood-fired grill imported from America and a microbrewery, the first concept of its kind for Thwaites, which said it was setting out on a mission to find the best-grilled food.

A range of beers were created in the microbrewery specifically for the pub and to reflect Thwaites’s 200-year brewing heritage.

‘Best grilled food’

At the time of the relaunch, director of brewing and pub operations Andrew Buchanan said: “We’ve travelled far and wide in our quest to find the best grilled food, testing different cooking fuels and cooking methods.

“What we found is nothing can replicate the flavours of open-fire cooking.”

He added: “The microbrewery is a great addition for us as we will be able to use our brewing experience from Daniel Thwaites that we have built up over nearly 210 years and bring it directly to Grill & Grain.”

On TripAdvisor, the pub received a three-and-a-half star rating (out of five) from 124 reviewers, 51 of which claimed to have had an 'excellent' experience there.

Meanwhile, Men Behaving Badly ​star Neil Morrissey warned the pub trade of “spontaneously exploding laundry”​ after his Plume of Feathers pub in Barlaston, Staffordshire, was evacuated last year due to a “strange smell”​ coming from its cellar.

Related topics: News, Health & safety, Other operators

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