The owner of the Star Inn at Harome has revealed the full impact of the fire that devastated the restaurant – and what will happen next.
Andrew Pern learned about the fire, which began last Wednesday night, at 10.15pm, when the phone rang in his house close to the restaurant. It was the head chef telling him the thatch was on fire.
“My heart sank because I know that inside the restaurant it’s wood, wood and wood,” he told The Times. “The thatch in parts was 4ft deep. I expected the worst and unfortunately it was exactly that.”
The entire 40-cover restaurant burned down along with a private dining room. Everywhere else – the bar, offices, wine room and another dining room – has been badly smoke damaged.
But the medieval walls in the former 14th century barn which hosted the restaurant were thick enough to survive the fire.
A fundraising campaign has been set up to help the Star Inn team hit by the fire. You can read more and donate here
Andrew told The Times that he hopes to save them by covering them with a tarpaulin, sealing the area for winter.
Police and fire investigators now believe the fire was started deliberately.
“I can’t say anything about the news that it might be arson, it’s a police matter,” Andrew said. “We don’t know anything else at the moment. Everyone’s been giving statements.”
Saved famous furniture
Andrew also revealed his staff had gone in to save items of the famous Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture – the craftsman who always carved a small mouse into his pieces.
“We went in through the back door while the roof was burning above us,” he says. “We didn’t tell the fire brigade. They were otherwise engaged at the front.”
He said front of house staff are now dealing with cancellations. And he hopes some of his chefs can work in other kitchens before returning to a rebuilt Star, which has a Michelin star.
Andrew told the paper that the fire was “not great, in the build-up to Christmas. But nobody’s injured, life goes on and these things are sent to test us. You pick yourself up and get on with it.
“Yet again. We’re fairly resilient characters up north but yeah, I’ve cried. There’s been lots of tears.”
He renovated and reopened his sister restaurant, the Star Inn the City in York, after it was hit by fire three years ago.