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Box pub shows British spirit after kitchen fire
A five star family owned Box hotel and restaurant showed true British spirit overcoming a huge kitchen fire on Thursday evening and opening for business over the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend.
Fire crews were called out to The Northey, in Bath Road, at 5.20pm when a member of the public noticed the kitchen roof was on fire.
The blaze spread and the roof of the kitchen, based at the rear of the Northey, collapsed through the extractor fan.
The owners of the Northey, brothers Mark and Matthew Warburton, kept calm and carried on in the face of adversity, with a completely ruined kitchen, they ordered in a portable kitchen, dry store and refrigeration unit which allowed the restaurant to serve food again on Saturday evening.
Chef Verity Boughey, 23, said: “We tried our best to get back to normal over the weekend and we did as well as we could but we could only serve a limited menu and unfortunately we did have to turn people away. As, we could only do so much with the size of the facilities we had and the limited equipment, which is disappointing as we would have been rammed.
“At the time of the fire on Thursday, I was cooking in the kitchen and had no idea the roof was on fire until Mark ran in, switched off the gas and got me out of there.”
On Tuesday, scaffolding went up on the rear of the Northey, to begin repairing the building which will take around eight weeks to complete.
Mark Warburton, who has ran the Northey with brother Matthew since 2004, said: “I’m just really pleased that we are so strict with our regular fire checks and, despite this being a huge blow to us, the main thing is nobody was hurt or killed. Once everybody was out I did one last sweep of the building to make sure nobody was inside.”
Four fire crews, two police cars and an ambulance, passing through Box on the way back from Royal United Hospital Bath, attended the incident.
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue believe the fire, which has ruined the kitchen and severely damaged its roof, was accidental but a cause of the blaze has yet to be found.
There was no damage to any other part of the building other than the kitchen which meant the hotel remained open following the fire but food couldn’t be served to guests on Thursday and Friday until the arrival of the mobile kitchen.
Brother Matthew was out at the time of the fire and arrived back in Box to find crews trying to get the blaze under control.
He said: “It was absolute carnage and it obviously is a really sad thing to have happened but we are just trying to get back to normal although it will take some time. The fire crews have told us they haven’t found any reason why it started but the main thing for us is that nobody was hurt.”
Mark Unwin, Corsham watch manager for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, lead one of the crews who put out the fire at the Northey.
He said: “It was all brought under control quite quickly but if it was in the main part of the pub it could have been a much different situation and that’s putting it mildly.”
The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing.