Fire at Cross Keys was an accident
A FIRE that ripped through a historic pub in Royal Wootton Bassett has been described as an accident by investigators.
The roof of the Cross Keys, in the High Street, caught fire during the afternoon of Sunday, July 21, and has since been covered by scaffolding and tarpaulin while investigators worked on the cause of the blaze.
Firefighters spent three hours tackling the flames, which engulfed the roof of the building, but were able to prevent it from spreading to any of the nearby shops.
After an inspection of the building, Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service ruled out any criminal activity, and further investigations have suggested that it was started accidentally by an electrical appliance in the top floor of the building.
The pub was in the process of being refurbished and was expected to re-open to the public on August 2 with new landlords taking over, but that has now been pushed back.
Control of the pub has been given back to its owners Enterprise Inns, which is working with the relevant authorities to restore the property to its former glory.
A date has not yet been set for when the work will start on the pub, which was built in 1742, and became popular with families of soldiers repatriated through the High Street from RAF Lyneham. The grade two listed building is thought to be the oldest pub in Royal Wootton Bassett.
Because of its age, Enterprise Inns has to work with a number of authorities to restore it, including English Heritage, and is not sure yet when the pub will be open for business again.
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: “We continue to work with all the relevant authorities to investigate the works required to reinstate the property, and we are awaiting their final reports.”
Ian Jeary, group commander of Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, was one of around 50 firefighters at the scene of the fire.
He said: “Because of the nature of the building, being structurally unstable, it has been difficult to conduct a thorough investigation.
“We are looking at a bit of a landmark building.
“The roof at the front of the original pub has been completely destroyed and the majority of that has fallen in on the first floor, causing more structural damage.
“Parts of the first floor have also collapsed.
“The owners are now working with the council to make the building safe, but it will take several months unfortunately.
“We can rule out that the refurbishment work was the cause, because the workers had not been there all weekend.”
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