Lewes pizza restaurant overwhelmed by public’s support after fire

Fire fighters at The Hearth, Lewes
Fire fighters at The Hearth, Lewes

The owner of a pizza restaurant in Lewes which was damaged in a fire says he has been overwhelmed by the public’s support.

Michael Hanson said they had been inundated with cards, presents and offers of help since the blaze on Friday January 30.

Plans are already underway to reopen the pizza restaurant as soon as possible. The bakery which occupies the downstairs unit at Lewes Bus Station in East Street is still trading.

Hearth owner Michael said: “We will view this as an opportunity not a tragedy, because it could have been much worse, but for head baker Tamás Kerékgyártó, whose swift action means we still have a restaurant.”

When Tamás arrived to open up the Bakehouse at 7.30am on Friday January 31, he smelt smoke and went up to investigate.

He found the kitchen and restaurant full of smoke, and immediately called East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service which put the fire out.

The blaze destroyed the oven surround and resulted in significant damage to the kitchen, as well as smoke damage to the restaurant area.

Michael added: “We could sit and mope, but the overwhelming amount of support we’ve received from the Lewes community, our landlord, businesses and individuals, has kept mine, and the team’s, spirits up.

“We can’t thank them enough. We’ve had everything from presents and cards, to offers to bring a mop down to assist with the clean up.

“We’re going to use the incident as a chance to improve the Hearth experience for everyone, and we’ll be reopening in a very novel manner in the next week.”

The Hearth is asking residents to keep up to date with its plans to reopen by visiting its Facebook page and website which will be regularly updated. A fire investigation was carried out by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Two crews from Barcombe and Lewes helped, after entering the building wearing breathing apparatus and extinguishing the kitchen fire with one hose reel.

While repairs are carried out The Hearth will be closed, but Michael said he was hoping to reopen the restaurant as soon as possible. No was hurt in the blaze. Staff have already started to strip out the furniture before the deep clean begins this week.