Owners of burnt-out Wheelton pub vow to rebuild business

Blackburn Citizen: Smoke bellows from the roof of The Dressers Arms, Wheelton Smoke bellows from the roof of The Dressers Arms, Wheelton

THE owners of an iconic Lancashire pub and restaurant destroyed in a massive fire have said they ‘will rebuild’ the premises.

Around 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Dressers Arms and Little Hong Kong restaurant in Briers Lane, Wheelton which broke out at around 5.30am last Thursday.

Two residents at the pub escaped unharmed and adjoining cottages were evacuated as the fire service used six pumps and an aerial ladder to control the fire and prevent the flames spreading to nearby homes.

Such was the intensity of the flames that teams of firefighters laid out hoses for more than half a mile to the Leeds and Liverpool canal to access water.

Pub landlord Steven Turner looked on in horror alongside neighbours as the extent of the damage to the pub, which dates back to the 1700s, became apparent.

There were no reported injuries during the incident.

The cost of damage to the premises, just off the A674 between Blackburn and Chorley, is expected to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. The Little Hong Kong restaurant was situated above the Dressers Arms.

Owner Dave Catterall, who runs it with wife Lorna, daughter Holly and son Jack said: “We’re devastated and distraught. Everyone has worked hard to build the business and to see this happen is heartbreaking.

"On a brighter note, we will rebuild, and the Dressers Arms and Little Hong Kong will be back – bigger and better than ever. We are truly overwhelmed with the touching messages of concern.

“Thanks so much to Chorley police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue for fantastic support and amazing efforts.

“We are truly grateful for all their work and bravery.”

Briers Lane resident Ian Grundy praised fire crews who he said had ‘performed heroically’ to stop fire spreading. 

He said: “There was a loud knock on the window around 5.30am. It was a fireman telling me to get out. I didn’t think it would be that serious but then the pub burst into fire with flames coming through the roof.

“The teams did a brilliant job to contain it and stop it damaging any of the cottages.”

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