http://www.kentonline.co.uk , 27 November 2016, by Matt Leclere.
Hooden on the Hill pub in Ashford on fire.
A popular pub has been destroyed after a fire ripped through the 17th
century building this morning.
The "Hooden on the Hill" in Willesborough in Ashford, was ablaze and 40 firefighters were tackling the flames - but the roof and first floor has
collapsed in at the back of the building.
Kent Fire and Rescue says it is believed the fire started in the kitchen
area but firefighters have managed to stop the fire spreading to the
Crews managed to contain the blaze to the back of the building but it is
reported two thirds of the pub could be ruined.
Neighbours have been left in shock as they watched their local burn
while the pub's owners, managers and staff looked on.
The pub is a popular destination for nearby residents and people
Firefighters used breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets, two jets and
a fog spike. A height vehicle was used as a water tower to help prevent
the fire spreading.
The call came in at 10.49am and no one is thought to be hurt. Within
minutes the pub was engulfed in flames and white smoke was seen
billowing from the building.
Firefighters are expected to be at the scene for the rest of the day.
Silverhill Road has been closed between the M20 bridge to just after the
Jon Robertson, a neighbour who has lived nearby for 15 years and is a
regular at the pub, said the pub is at the heart of the community around
"My wife saw smoke coming from the pub and I ran out the door and I saw
there was thick smoke," he said.
"Within three or four minutes there were huge flames coming out the
back. Everyone was out of the pub at the time, so there was no one in
"It was raging badly for about fifteen minutes before they managed to
dampen it down. I was worried at one point about it catching the house
next door but luckily the wind was blowing in the other direction."
The height vehicle has been spraying the building to cut the fire off.
Speaking to KentOnline, Rupert Roberts, the firefighter in command,
said: "It's got many voids and it's traditional construction and has
five separate pitches where it's been extended over the years.
"It isn't clear where it started - investigations are still being
undertaken on that - but it's in the rear of the building in the region
of the kitchen and spread unchecked through the voids in the walls and
"When we arrived it was very well developed and spread from the ground
and into the first, second and into the roof floor levels.
"We managed to cut the fire off and spreading to the front of the
"The two front pitches - which are first, ground and lower ground level
- we've managed to prevent any further damage to those.
"We're trying to salvage the maximum amount of property we can for the
owners and the occupiers to reduce the amount of tragedy as far as
"It's been a very serious fire. Luckily we prevented it spreading once
"Unfortunately it spread it all the way through from the lowest level to
the highest and through the roof.
"The roof at the rear have collapsed and the contents are burned and
lying on the floor level of the ground floor.
"They are very difficult buildings. We've got equipment we now use to
stop fire spreading through voids we didn't have years ago. The most
recent equipment we have to put in voids is a high pressure spray to
stop that spreading and we've used that today.
"We'll be here probably for the rest of the day."
The popular establishment is a traditional country pub and was built in
1649 as a coaching inn.
The bar is situated on the lower level with the kitchen and dining room
to the back with living accommodation upstairs.
Bus services are being redirected because the road is closed while
firefighters secure the area.