A MASSIVE fire destroyed a canalside pub, microbrewery and restaurant which recently underwent a £1million renovation.

At the height of the blaze, eight fire engines, manned by more than 60 firefighters, were at the Grill and Grain pub in Bolton Road, Riley Green.

The alert was raised at around 11.50am yesterday when smoke was seen coming through the roof.

The pub, formerly called The Boatyard, was open at the time and staff and customers were evacuated.

A fire service spokesman said the ‘major incident’ had left the ‘roof almost completely destroyed ‘ and the interior ‘massively damaged’.

At 12.45pm flames could be seen through gaps at various points of the roof and smoke was engulfing the adjacent Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Several fire pumps drew water from the waterway alongside and two ‘cherry picker’ aerial platforms tackled the blaze from above.

Environment Agency staff set up temporary dams on the pub’s car park to prevent polluted water from the building finding its way back into the canal.


A fire service spokesman said: “This was a major operation and it's a very sad sight to see.

“There has been a catastrophic roof collapse due to the severity of the fire and the interior is massively damaged.

“Despite the structural damage no injuries have been reported.

“The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

A spokesman for Thwaites, which owns the restaurant, said: “Our priority is the safety of our guests and staff and as soon as the fire was discovered everyone was immediately evacuated from the building.”

The pub reopened in November after a £1million plus investment by Thwaites.

A microbrewery was built near the main entrance to produce craft ales and an extensive waterside terrace was installed.

A large wood-fired grill had also been installed in an open kitchen in full view of the restaurant.

The pub’s six guest rooms and overnight accommodation also got a new look in the refurbishment.

Simon Noble, 48, a team leader at the venue, said: “I arrived for work shortly before noon.

“The smoke was coming through the roof.

“The staff were very shocked. It’s shattering to see the building so badly damaged but thankfully no-one was injured.”

Lisa White, 45, who lives nearby, said: “It’s an awful shame after it only being so carefully done up so recently.

“Only at the weekend I said how great it was to see so many people going there during the sunnier weather.

“It’s just terrible to see all the damage.”
Glenn Miller, 61, who arrived to check on his narrowboat, said: “What an upsetting thing to see all this devastation.

“I’m just thankful to hear that nobody has been injured. That’s the only positive thing to say.”

Neighbour Alice May Singleton said: “This is terrible shame for the Grill and Grain.

“Having only reopened late last year the pub had been thriving, with regular customers and especially as the weather had just begun to improve. I can only hope that the restaurant makes a quick recovery back in time for the summer holidays.”