Fire rips through beloved village pub after fears it was struck by lightning

Firefighters rushed to The Green Man in Wrotham, Kent (Pictures: UKNIP)

A 137-year-old village pub has been destroyed in a fire, with some locals saying it was struck by lightning during fierce storms.

Firefighters rushed to The Green Man in Wrotham, Kent, in the early hours of this morning with five fire engines to tackle the blaze.

Owner Alex Brooks, 34, said he received a call shortly before 4am from a neighbour who saw the flames ripping through the 19th century tavern.

He arrived minutes later ‘to find it all ablaze’, adding: ‘I’ve lost everything.’

Mr Brooks told Kent Live he and his partner have shelled out £25,000 to make the pub Covid-compliant in order to welcome punters back.

He described the past year as having been a struggle, with Brexit making it difficult to find staff on top of the problems caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Mr Brooks said: ‘We’ve all busted a gut to get back up and running with everything that’s happened this year and now this.’

He said important work laptops and family portraits going back 100 years were also ruined in the blaze.

The pub has stood since 1884 (Picture: UkNewsinPictures)

Crews in five fire engines tackled the blaze (Picture: UkNewsinPictures)

Owner Alex Brooks said he’s ‘lost everything’ (Picture: UkNewsinPictures)

One regular, Gary Stickings, told news site that the pub was the heart of the local community, adding: ‘The village fete is meant to be next week. Just a big, big shame.’

Some locals suggested the pub had been hit by lightning during storms, but Kent Fire and Rescue Service said the cause has not yet been confirmed.

A statement said: ‘Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to reports of a fire at a pub in Hodsoll Street, near Wrotham, Sevenoaks. 

‘At the height of the fire, five fire engines, a height vehicle and a bulk water carrier were at the scene, and crews used hose reel jets and compressed air foam to bring the fire under control. 

‘Two fire engines and a crew from the Technical Rescue Unit remain at the incident, to check for remaining hot spots and to assess any damage. 

‘KFRS’ Volunteers are also in attendance, to provide support to affected residents in the area. 

‘No casualties have been reported. The cause is not yet known.’

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