Landlord speaks after Royston pub fire

A NEWLY refurbished Royston pub was damaged after a fire broke out in the basement, and will cost up to �100,000 to repair.

The North Star caught light during Tuesday morning’s rush hour, with 35 firefighters attending the incident.

Nearby roads were closed as fire crews battled the blaze.

A passer-by spotted smoke coming from the building at 8.30am.

David Thake, joint licensee with his daughter Michelle Girling, said: “It was an electrical fault. They reckon it was in the fuse box area.

“It’s going to take a couple of months to get it sorted. I will re-open as soon as I can.

“Luckily, there was no one here at the time. They could have been dead with all that smoke.”

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A crew from Royston were the first to attend.

Incident commander Billy McGill said at the scene: “It always looks bad inside after a fire, but fortunately no one was in there and no one was hurt.

“The fire was contained and didn’t get through the basement, through prompt reaction by the fire service.”

Soon after the police arrived Old North Road was shut in the vicinity of the pub with access to one of the nearby railway station’s carparks restricted.

A cordon was put up by officers and the road remained shut for approximately two hours.

Louis Gelhart of Therfield said: “I came down here at about 8.30am and it was really smoking then.

“It’s a sad day. It’s one of Royston’s old drinking houses.”

Geraint Burnell, town centre manager, and head of Royston First, said: “It will be just desperate for anyone living there and it is the last thing you need in the current economic climate.”

The site was made safe by both gas and electricity workers.