Dramatic rescue at oldest pub in Boroughbridge

BOROUGHBRIDGE'S oldest pub is likely to remain closed until the middle of next week after a devastating fire destroyed parts of the building.

Sunday morning's blaze at the Black Bull, which started in the kitchen, quickly spread to the roof and six guest rooms at the rear, causing around 200,000 worth of damage.

The pub's kitchen staff were instantly evacuated, but disabled Mrs Jillian Burgess, wife of owner Tony, had to be carried out of her upstairs room at the front of the pub in her wheelchair by Mr Burgess, Boroughbridge's PC Neil Waites and retained firefighter Caroline Gibson.

With the fire spreading, the trio faced a race against time and Mr Burgess described the evacuation as "a panic" and "the longest half an hour" of his life.

The Black Bull bar section at the front of the pub is likely to remain closed for about ten days while electricity is restored.

But it will be about a month until the roofless restaurant reopens, meaning Christmas parties and functions already booked have had to be cancelled.

Mr Burgess said the fire had left everybody in shock.

"I am devastated, Boroughbridge is devastated and this is an experience that will always stay with you, it was very frightening," he said.

"But I am just pleased that nobody was injured. If you had a loss of a life where would you go from there?

"I think we were lucky that it happened in the daytime, probably the difference between life and death. At night people are sleeping and disorientated."

Mr Burgess is relieved the fire did not spread to the front part of the pub, a listed building dating back to 1262.

"I honestly thought the whole pub was going to go up in flames," he said.

"But the fire service were excellent and they probably saved the front of the pub with seconds to