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Morecambe landlady's "massive relief" as pub set to reopen after fire

Gemma Gardner, landlady of the York Hotel in Morecambe

A landlady has spoken of her "massive relief" that she can reopen just over a week after a fire at her pub and hotel in Morecambe.

Gemma Gardner will open the doors of the York Hotel at noon today (September 7) just nine days after she, her family, staff and guests had to flee the pub in the middle of the night after a fire broke out in the kitchen.

Gemma said it was "a massive relief to be reopening" the Lancaster Road premises.

"I cannot wait, we've had these doors closed now for a week and it's not been good," she said.

The fire broke out at around 2.45am on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29.

Gemma was woken by the fire alarm, then she and husband Gareth went downstairs, where Gemma saw smoke in the kitchen and that "the wall was bubbling".

LISTEN to Gemma talking on Tuesday about the fire at the York Hotel and her future plans for the pub:

They called the fire brigade and evacuated the hotel, then watched from across the road as firefighters tackled the blaze.

"There were four fire engines, they were here within minutes, absolutely phenomenal," said Gemma.

"I think there were 16-18 firemen here, and we were all stood across the road until about half seven in the morning."

At the time, there were around 16 people in the hotel, including Gareth, Gemma, daughters Milly and Bella, staff and guests.

Gemma said the fire started in the kitchen, in the wall near an extraction fan.

"I don't know if over time it's maintenance or wear and tear, but the embers have come through the extraction fan and gone into the wall.

"We had a busy Sunday service, and it's got to the right temperature and enough build-up in that wall to start a fire. If it wasn't for the fact that the proper panelling was in place, that fire would have spread.

"That's upsetting because my youngest, Bella, who is 10, her bed is directly above that wall. She is still having night terrors now with it, which is just mortifying.

"She's sleepwalking and screaming in her sleep, so we're having to settle her."

Gemma is pictured below looking at the area where the fire broke out.

She said that staff and locals have been "mucking in" to redecorate and get the York ready for reopening.

"Everyone has been carpet cleaning to get rid of the smell of smoke. It caused a lot of damage, more mentally than physically."

She said the kitchen won't be ready to reopen straightaway.

"It's just waiting on a new extraction fan, so maybe (in) two-three weeks our Sunday dinners will be flying out again," she said.

Gemma and Gareth had only officially taken over the pub in July.

She said she was looking forward to starting up Thursday children's karaoke sessions again, as well as darts and pool teams, and the York's new restaurant with food by chef Tze Devine, who was trained by Gordon Ramsay.

"We can genuinely turn this back into what it used to be, which is a community pub. It's all about the community and giving back where we can, and that's what we want for this place. It's a home to so many people."

The York will be reopening following a safety inspection by fire officers which took place on Tuesday.

Related Story: Firefighters tackle fire at Morecambe pub - Beyond Radio


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