Firefighters are clearing the remnants of a blaze that destroyed a historic hotel in mid-Canterbury overnight.
Emergency services caused a fire at the 139-year-old Sheffield Hotel on Wrights Rd in Sheffield, about 55 kilometers west of Christchurch, at four o’clock in the morning at 1.15.
New Zealand Fire and Emergency Service spokesman Rivay Grace said the only resident of the hotel was awakened by smoke alarms and called 111.
According to him, initially the fire was burning on the roof of the second floor of the hotel.
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Preliminary renovations to the hotel have made it difficult to fight the fire, as it has caused “hidden ceilings and a roof,” Grace said.
Four crews extinguished the fire only after 7 am, and as of 9 am the crew continued to extinguish hot spots.
According to Grace, no one was injured and no other property was threatened.
The cause of the fire or its suspicion is still being investigated, and the investigator will return to the scene later on Thursday.
Engineer Stu Gray, 65, was returning from a friend’s house when he saw smoke coming from the hotel early Thursday morning.
Gray saw flames through one of the hotel windows, and the whole area was covered with thick gray smoke.
“It was absolutely whole, it burned down everywhere, every window was there [broken]. ”
He said a large number of firefighters were already at the hotel when he went to check on the commotion, and they found it difficult to get to the fire.
“[The smoke] It was thick, like, these poor guys trying to crawl through the roof had a hellish battle. They had to get more equipment to get there. “
Gray said he was worried about the owners because he believed the hotel had recently been renovated and a new dining room added.
“All the locals are very confused about this. There have been a lot of repairs here lately. ”
Louise Davis, who runs the Bahara Accommodation Bed and Breakfast in Springfield, about 10 km west of Sheffield, said she would often encourage guests to visit the hotel because it is well known for its dishes.
“Food has always had a brilliant reputation. I’ve been there a few times, and it’s always been great. “
She said the hotel was a “community center” and suspected that many residents would be very sad to hear that it had been badly damaged in the fire.
“Everyone knows the Sheffield Hotel is really awful [what happened]. ”
There has been a hotel in Sheffield since 1882. According to the hotel’s website, it offered a renovated bar, dining room and beer garden.
On their Facebook page early Thursday, the Sheffield volunteer fire brigade expressed condolences to the hotel owner.
“As everyone in this community will know, we lost our oldest landmark, the Sheffield Hotel (1882), early in the morning,” the statement said.
“Our condolences are expressed by Desra [Johnson, the hotel owner] who put her heart and soul into a big old girl. Thank God the fire alarm went off [Desrae] situation, and she managed to get out safely. “
They thanked all the surrounding crews, some of whom were volunteers, for “giving time to our communities and who will now go home, take a shower and go to work every day.”
In recent years, there have been several fires in pubs in mid-Canterbury.
Woodley’s restaurant and wine bar on South Tce Rd, Darfield, was badly damaged after a fire that broke out early in the morning of February 2, 2020.
Then the owner Jacob Barwick told Things he believed that the fire was caused by a power failure. The restaurant suffered some structural damage to the walls and roof.
Nearby, the 100-year-old Kirwee Tavern on West Coast Rd was completely destroyed after a fire believed to have been caused by a power failure that broke it on Christmas Eve 2019.
About 1,000 people live in Kirva, and the pub, lovingly known as Vi, was in the center of the community.