Investigation reveals pub fire was accidental

The Old Polegate Station restaurant, fire scene. September 23rd 2013 E39060P
The Old Polegate Station restaurant, fire scene. September 23rd 2013 E39060P
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The owner of a restaurant which was damaged by fire says it could be closed until around Christmas and is appealing for people who made reservations to get in touch, after the bookings diary was destroyed in the flames.

Crews were called to the Old Polegate Station Restaurant in Station Road, Polegate, at around 2:30pm on Monday (September 23) after witnesses reported seeing smoke billlowing from the building.

Crews used breathing apparatus to enter the building and tackle the blaze which broke out in the restaurant’s bottle cooler.

Owner Tony Wyman said the damage to the pub was extensive but it did not reach the living accomodation which is situated downstairs.

He said: “The fire was quite extensive. On Mondays we are closed and so consequently when the fire took hold in the bottle cooler there was no-one here to see it.

“It is quite fortunate our living accomodation which is downstairs, the restaurant is upstairs, was not damaged.

“If someone had been there that day we would have been able to get to it before it took hold.

“The bookings were destroyed in the fire and so I don’t have the telephone numbers to contact people who made bookings.

“We want to give refunds to people who put down deposits. If they call me on 01323 483060 we can arrange a time for them to come in. They must have their receipts with them.

“I have been trying to get in touch with a funeral party who have the restaurant booked on Friday (September 27) at midday. I don’t have their number to tell them what has happened. I went on the radio but I am not sure if they heard it.

“They may pick up your paper and see this.

“I am sure once the dust and the dirt has been cleared up it will look better. It is just still raw, it only happened a couple of days ago.”

A fire investigation officer attended the scene and on Tuesday (September 24) said the fire had been accidental.

A spokesman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service added: “A fire investigation by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has found that a fire at Old Polegate Station Restaurant was accidental.”

Pictures taken from inside the building show badly damaged sofas, blackened walls and charred debris scattered around the floor.

The restaurant is housed in the original Victorian Polegate Station building. The Old Polegate Station building was the second station built in Polegate in 1881. It was opened in connection with the construction of a new westward facing line to Hailsham and the 1880 extension of the Cuckoo Line to Eridge.

The first station was built in 1846 and was situated where the current station building is today. The second station (Old Polegate Station building) was closed to the public in 1986 when the current station in Polegate was opened.

If you have a booking and would like to talk to Tony about it contact him on 01323 483060. You must have your receipt if enquiring about being refunded.