Witnesses to last night’s Ingoldmells pub fire were in awe at the speed which it escalated into a fearsome inferno.
The Bell Inn blaze began shortly before 10pm and quickly engulfed the upper floor and roof, leaving devastation in its wake.
Keeta Disney was running a karaoke night at O’Gradys Showbar nearby when the fire broke out.
“I went to get my car which was parked next to The Bell and at that time there small flames shooting out of the window in all directions,” she said.
“Then all of a sudden there was an almighty crash and the roof went inward on itself - it just went up like it was made of cardboard.
“The top of the roof was smouldering and all the bottom was billowing black smoke.”
As the panic spread Keeta said she heard the sound of a distraught child caught up in the chaos.
“She was terrified, she said she never wants to go inside a pub ever again,” said Keeta.
Nearby, in The Anchor pub the regulars there were equally shocked by the ferocity of the fire.
Kenny Howard was enjoying a drink at the bar when his girlfriend Josie Simms came rushing in to raise the alarm.
“I heard her screaming ‘The Bell’s on fire’,” he said.
“Everyone looked at her in disbelief then I went outside and could see the billowing smoke and the orange flames coming from the roof.”
“She was screaming at everyone ’it’s on fire there are people in there, it’s like they don’t know it’s on fire’.”
Kenny and Josie were among the many onlookers who called the emergency services, which have been praised for their prompt response and brave efforts.
Keeta, who believes a spark from one of the neon signs on the roof caused the fire, has applauded the firefighters for coping under the pressure of the many concerned bystanders.
“They were very quick to deal with it and very prompt in arriving too,” she said.
Eight fire crews attended from across the county to extinguish the fire and ensure the building had been completely evacuated.
Everyone inside escaped safely, though one person was treated by paramedics on the scene for smoke inhalation. There were no other reported injuries.
The fire was extinguished this morning while firefighters remained on the scene to ensure it stayed out.