Fire damaged restaurant closed until Christmas

Firefighters at the scene of The Old Polegate Station following a blaze on September 3, 2013
Firefighters at the scene of The Old Polegate Station following a blaze on September 3, 2013

The owners of the Old Polegate Station damaged by fire on Monday afternoon says it could be closed until Christmas.

And they are appealing for people who made reservations to get in touch after the bookings diary was destroyed in the flames.

Fifteen firefighters from Eastbourne and Hailsham were called to the original Victorian Polegate station building in Station Road at 2.30pm after witnesses reported seeing smoke billlowing from the building.

The blaze is believed to have been started by a fridge.

Owner Tony Wyman, who runs the eatery with his wife Karen, said the damage to the pub was extensive but it did not reach the living accommodation downstairs.

He said, “The fire was quite extensive. On Mondays we are closed and so consequently when the fire took hold in the bottle cooler there was no-one here to see it.

“It is quite fortunate our living accommodation which is downstairs was not damaged.

“If someone had been there that day we would have been able to get to it before it took hold.

“The bookings were destroyed in the fire and so I don’t have the telephone numbers to contact people who made bookings.

“We want to give refunds to people who put down deposits. If they call me on 483060 we can arrange a time for them to come in. They must have their receipts with them.

“I am sure once the dust and the dirt has been cleared up it will look better. It is just still raw, it only happened a couple of days ago.”

A fire investigation officer said the blaze had been accidental.

Pictures taken inside the building show badly damaged sofas, blackened walls and charred debris scattered around the floor.

Mr and Mrs Wyman have published photographs of the damage in a bid to get people to be more fire safety conscious.

The restaurant is housed in the original Victorian Polegate Station building, built in Polegate in 1881. It was opened in connection with the construction of a new westward facing line to Hailsham and the 1880 extension of the Cuckoo Line to Eridge. The first station was built in 1846 and situated where the current station building is today. The second station, the Old Polegate Station building, was closed to the public in 1986 when the current station in Polegate was opened.

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