The Rowbarge Fire

Yesterday evening I was supposed to be attending a birthday party at the Rowbarge in St Johns. The Rowbarge holds significant memories for me as it is directly across the road from my best man Robin‘s childhood home and isn’t too far from where I now live, and has therefore been a regular venue for all manner of events, from a cheeky afternoon pint to landmark occasions. Yesterday afternoon I received a telephone call to advise me that the evening’s celebrations were to be relocated because the Rowbarge was on fire.

I couldn’t get anywhere near it by vehicle – for those that know the area St Johns Road was closed from the Ketch to the Renault garage. Apparently six fire engines were on the scene handling a fire that had broken out in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the building. Today I visited the pub, and was shocked to see the state it was in.

The sign says “Due to fire we are closed for the foreseeable future”. I can’t help but feel so sorry for the landlords, Nick and Anna, who lost their son in a road accident in December 2009 and now have this situation to contend with. I would guess, without any real experience, that the hole in the roof was created by the emergency services to tackle the fire that had started from the rear of the premises, which now look like this:

The door on the right above is the side door from the beer garden into the extended restaurant area. The accommodation block, just out of shot to the right, appeared not to have been damaged. I will be interested to see what happens next. :(

** Update 20/02/2011 **

Four weeks on and it looks like this:

The windows have been covered with metal sheeting and the roof protected from precipitation. I’ll update again with any significant changes.

2 comments so far

  1. Paul Stewart on January 23rd, 2011 17:28

    As if the pub trade isn’t having it bad enough, hope all was very well insured and the new pub will be a landmark for the area in the future.

  2. Ben on January 23rd, 2011 18:12

    Such a shame for Nick and Anna, as well as the local community. Thankfully no one got injured but that won’t be their thoughts right now…
    Given my bias, I can’t help but continue to think all commercial kitchens should have fire suppression fitted and it really needs to be mandated in as it will prevent fires like this happening.

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