The historic Batesford Hotel has been saved from a fire that took hold in the kitchen area around 12:20am last Thursday.
Eight fire crews arrived on the scene to find the roof billowing smoke. It took them around two hours to extinguish the blaze, but thankfully the older section of the pub was saved.
“The fire, which we believe originated in the kitchen area, moved into the roof cavity and took hold in the roof space,” said operations officer Geoff McGill.
“We were able to push the fire back to the new renovation. While the function room … has been significantly damaged, this really was a great save on the historic part of the pub.”
It was later found that hot tea towels pulled from a dryer and put into a plastic bucket were believed to be the ignition point for the fire.
Owner of the Batesford, Tanya Bennett, received a call the hotel was alight just after midnight and raced to the scene.
“I was in shock and I felt sick, because we put our heart and soul into this place for the last five years,” Ms Bennett told 9NEWS.
The damage is estimated at over $350,000 and mostly affects the kitchen and function area, which sustained significant smoke and water damage. Bennett says they were fully booked most weekends until the end of the year, and is eager to get operational again as soon as possible.
“Wedding season starts in October, so we’ve got a bit of work ahead of us.
“We’ve got a great team of builders and a wonderful community around us that are already stepping forward and wanting to get it back up and running.”
The original hotel was built on the site in 1859. More recently, it has been honoured with culinary awards including the Golden Plate (2013) and the Culinary Shield hospitality award (2012).