Triton Inn pub's redecoration goes up in smoke after electrical fire
OWNERS of a popular country pub have been devastated by a fire that has sent their new refurbishment work up in smoke.
An electrical fault at The Triton Inn may be to blame for a blaze at the pub in Brantingham, close to the A63.
The pub was closed for refurbishment when the blaze broke out in the restaurant, causing fire and smoke damage.
Owners Paul and Anne Rusling, who had started redecorating the pub last week, are now counting the cost of this week's fire.
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They are unable to say when they will be able to reopen and do not know how long they can afford to retain their staff without income from the pub.
Mr Rusling said: "We are very, very upset. The Triton has been our life for six years.
"We took it from being closed in 2006 and rebuilt it internally from the floor up.
"We personally chose and bought all the furniture and fittings and only on Monday, Anne was painting the doors.
"So it's very close to our hearts and something we take great pride in."
Mr Rusling said no one was in the pub when the fire broke out.
He said the blaze appeared to have been caused by an electrical fault, which set fire to seating in the restaurant.
Thick black toxic smoke from the foam padding in the seats spread to the ballroom and bar area, which have been left covered in a thick sooty residue.
Mr Rusling said everyone is shocked.
He said: "We are concerned for our team of staff – about 20 full and part-time kitchen and front-of-house – who had been given a week's holiday but this now looks like being longer.
"We just don't know how long we can afford to keep them on without income from the pub or if we will be able to hang on to them as it is very hard to get staff out in Brantingham – for example, good chefs like ours are in great demand."
Mr Rusling said he has no idea how much restoration will cost or how long it will take.
He said: "There is damage to some roof timbers, a whole wall of patio doors, all seating in the restaurant and the grand piano.
"The main problem is that everything is coated in black sooty residue.
"The insurers say this will all have to be stripped out and replaced, which may take months."
But Mr Rusling insists the couple are trying to be optimistic about the timescale for reopening.
He said: "We have a lot of functions coming up, plus very busy times, such as Valentine's weekend – we get so busy, we spread it over several days to fit everyone in – and our busiest day of the year, which is Mother's Day.
"The back of house areas such as kitchens, stores, cellar and the private living accommodation are OK, thanks to fire doors, but front-of-house looks just blackened. It's awful."
The couple are struggling to plan cleaning and redecoration at the moment because the electricity has been cut off for safety reasons.
Five fire crews attended the blaze at 9.30pm on Monday.
A spokesman for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said: "Upon arrival at the scene, crews were faced with a severe fire in the lounge area of the building.
"The crews were able to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to other rooms.
"However, the lounge was severely damaged by the fire and the remainder of the building sustained smoke and heat damage."
The spokesman said investigations are continuing into the cause of the fire.