The quick actions of local firefighters, and neighbouring crews, limited the damage at the Brown Pub in Methven to just the roof space cavity.
Methven Volunteer Fire Brigade responded to a structure fire at the Brown Pub in Methven at 9.21am on Tuesday. Two engines plus a tanker from the station attended before being joined by three engines from Ashburton and one from Rakaia. There were also engines from Christchurch which included a Bronto Skylift ladder and a Hazmat Command Unit.
At its peak there were around nine fire engines, 36 firefighters plus other Fire and Emergency NZ personnel there, as well as police.
Timaru and Geraldine fire crews were also on standby in case they were needed to cover calls in the Ashburton district while the Ashburton Volunteer Brigade crews were busy in Methven.
Ashburton District councillor Liz McMillan was in town when the fire crews were on site and said it was “amazing work by the volunteer brigade” to restrict its spread.
She said there was “smoke and flames…people are a bit shell shocked. It’s bloody heart-breaking,” she said, at the thought it could be extensively damaged.
Ms McMillan said during Methven’s 140 year history, the Brown Pub, or a version of it, had been there for most of those years.
“Everyone’s been there for a drink…or a song or two.”
Methven Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Brent Anderson made the call early to bring in reinforcement: it was an older, two storey wooden structure in downtown Methven.
“It was a no brainer to call the second alarm,” he said.
“There was a wee fire in the roof space with the main structure damage caused in the north western wing of the hotel. All in the roof space.”
The area of the fire was above the accommodation area where two people were staying. It was unclear if they were in the building.
Mr Anderson said there was a lot of water damage. So to prevent further damage to the area, or on the lower levels the chimney was to be removed and the iron covered to protect from the elements until it could be sorted.
The hotel did not have sprinklers but did have an alarm system.
Mr Anderson said, while the accommodation area of the hotel may be out of action for a while, the restaurant and bar at the other end of the hotel could be back up and running by the end of the week, if not before.