PICTURES: St Albans pub suffers 'devastating' fire
PUBLISHED: 10:58 07 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:33 08 July 2019
A St Albans pub suffered a "devastating" fire early this morning.
Herts Fire and Rescue Service rushed to the scene of the blaze at The Plough Sleapshyde, on Sleapshyde Lane, at about 4am this morning after a passerby saw the flames and called 999.
A fire door protected the main pub building - only the kitchen and shed storage area were ravaged in the flames.
Co-owner of the pub, Sean Hughes, said firefighters told him The Plough's thatched roof was only moments away from being engulfed.
He said: "We have a thatched roof and the flames were so high they were right next to the main building.
"We are exceptionally lucky and we are so grateful for all the support."
Sean's brother Tim, and his fiancée Rachel Doherty, live on the premises but are unhurt.
"They are safe, they got out just in time, and the fire brigade were incredible, they got out here so quickly," Sean said.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire, but Sean said The Plough's bar should reopen by the middle of next week.
In a post on Facebook, the countryside pub thanked firefighters for saving the main 17th century building.
It said: "We are completely shocked to say that we have had a devastating fire at The Plough early this morning but thanks to the incredible fire brigade we have saved the main building.
"Both Tim and Rachel are safe but obviously in shock."
This announcement was met with an outpouring of sympathy on social media.
One poster said: "Devastating. So much love and hard work put in to this beautiful pub. Thinking of you all xx."
Another added: "I'm so sorry to hear this dreadful news. You have an amazing place there and it will be again. As soon as you are ready we will all be back spending money xx."
More information on this as it becomes available.