Devastating fire rips through popular village pub

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Firefighters have battled a blaze at a thatched pub in Oving.

Fire crews are now preparing to leave the Gribble Inn, Oving, which was badly damaged by a fire in its thatched roof yesterday.

Gribble Inn fire aftermath. Pictures: Chris Shimwell

Gribble Inn fire aftermath. Pictures: Chris Shimwell

Firefighters from across West Sussex worked in tough conditions to save as much of the pub as they possibly could.

Bognor Regis watch commander Sean Embleton said because of the heat and dust particles in the air, it had been an ‘arduous job’ for the firefighters, many of whom spent hours working in scorching temperatures under the baking summer sunshine.

He said firefighters also had to work in cramped spaces among the roof timbers as they removed straw that had not yet caught light from the building.

As fire spread through the roof, fire crews created a divide to prevent the entirety of the roof being engulfed in flames, meaning a section was saved.

Gribble Inn fire aftermath SUS-140720-142242001

Gribble Inn fire aftermath SUS-140720-142242001

There was a scheduled Fire Brigades Union strike between 11am and 1pm today in a continuing dispute over pay, but at that stage the fire and rescue service was scaling back the number of fire engines at the pub from 14 to four, so some of the retained teams took over and have been there the rest of the day.

A building control officer will now assess the building to make sure it is safe for a fire investigation officer to enter to try to establish the cause of the fire.

Fire crews will check in on the pub throughout the night to make sure none of the thatch reignites.

The pub’s microbrewery and skittle alley were undamaged as they are in a separate building.