The owners of Hickory's Smokehouse in Wall Heath, West Midlands, have been left devastated after a fire ripped through the restaurant's thatched roof in the early hours of this morning (25 August).
Around 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height after smoke was spotted coming from the roof of the Grade II-listed building at 2.30am.
Guests were evacuated from 22 rooms at the neighbouring Kingfisher hotel. Fire crews were able to stop the fire spreading to the hotel and nearby leisure complex.
Roads in the Kingswinford area were closed and local residents were advised to keep doors and windows closed as a precaution.
A total of 15 crews from West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene to tackle the blaze.
A statement from the owners of Hickory's Smokehouse said: "We are absolutely devastated about the news of the fire at our Wall Heath restaurant both for our team and the local community.
"Thankfully no one has been injured in any way and the fire is now under control.
"Fire fighters have done an incredible job fighting the blaze and we are just waiting to speak to the police and fire investigation experts to establish the cause. At this stage they are still unable to gain access to the site.
"We will of course keep you updated with any news as we have it. Thanks so much for all of your support so far."
The fire service said it was working with the Environment Agency to minimise any impact on the local brook.
Station Commander Russell Gauden, Fallings Park, who has been working with the West Midlands Fire Service for more than 20 years, said conditions in the restaurant changed rapidly.
He said investigations were being carried out to determine the cause of the fire and teams were working to ensure the safety of the building before handing it back over to the owners.
Several messages of support have been left on Hickory's Twitter account.
Captain Dave Evans @stcw95seasec tweeted: "hope you guys can get back on your feet soon in Dudley. Keep up the excellent customer experience Neil & team Hickories."
While business Morton Reynolds said: "We're very sad by the news of @Hickorys_ Wall Heath, you guys bring an awesome dining experience to the Midlands! Hope you can rebuild!
James Garratt @JamesGfoodie said: "Very sad to hear the devastating news from our good friends @Hickorys_ Wall Heath. Best wishes for a quick recovery from all @OpenTableUK
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