The owner of a popular family pub which was gutted during a major fire last week hopes to reinstate it ‘to its former glory as soon as possible’.
Frazer Bell said staff at The Bell Inn in Ingoldmells were ‘devastated’ when the blaze ripped through its first floor on Thursday night leaving wreckage in its wake.
“The Bell Inn has been a much-loved family pub for many years and shall be sorely missed by staff and customers alike,” he said.
“The manageress Diane Locking has worked at the pub for 29 years - for our long standing staff like her and our regular customers, many happy memories have been formed in the venue.
“We are all devastated by the fire and the state it has left the building in, however we take comfort in the fact that nobody was hurt in the fire.”
Witnesses saw the fire rapidly escalate into a flaming inferno after an electrical fault with the pub’s neon lighting caused sparks to ignite.
“The whole upstairs was in flames in minutes,” said Lee Brown who was in the pub on Anchor Lane with up to 100 other people when the blaze began shortly before 10pm.
Although one person required treatment for smoke inhalation no one was seriously injured thanks to the quick thinking staff who evacuated the building.
“We cannot thank the staff enough for acting coolly and calmly to ensure this happened quickly and efficiently,” said Mr Bell.
“We would also like to thank the fire brigade for attending the fire so quickly and preventing it from doing further damage or spreading to any other building.”
Eight fire crews from across the county attended the blaze and battled with extremely challenging conditions to prevent further damage to neighbouring properties.
Skegness station manager Gary Millson said: “The crews worked very hard especially during the first few minutes.
“Initially just two engines arrived on the scene but they immediately realised it was going to be a far bigger job.
“There was a shortage of water which we also had to divide between protecting the neighbouring building and extinguishing the pub fire. It was very difficult and there was a lot of hard work involved.”
The crews overcame the fire in the early hours of Friday morning but the pub’s first floor suffered 70 per cent damage with further damage affecting the ground floor too.
Despite the devastation, Mr Bell says he hopes to have the popular pub back in action as soon as possible.
“We have had a huge amount of support from our customers, local residents and businesses,” he said. “Many of them are friends and have supported us over many years - we are very grateful to them all.
“We now look forward to the future and reinstating The Bell Inn to its former glory as soon as possible.”