Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 11:55 UK

Village pub badly damaged in fire

The White Bear, Epworth [picture by Amanda Thomson]
The ground floor of the pub was destroyed in the fire

A fire which has extensively damaged a village pub in North Lincolnshire is being investigated by police.

About 20 firefighters tackled the blaze at The White Bear in Belton Road, Epworth, in the early hours.

Fire and police officers are at the scene as investigations continue into the cause of the fire.

Fireman John Whittaker, who helped fight the blaze, said: "The fire was very severe as we arrived, coming out of all the downstairs windows."

A Humberside Fire & Rescue Service spokesman said the ground floor of the pub had been completely destroyed and the rest of the building was badly damaged by smoke and water.

'Heartbreaking' sight

The service had received several calls from villagers reporting the fire at about 0055 BST Monday.

Nobody was believed to have been inside the property at the time.

A Humberside Police spokesman said: "Investigations into the cause of the fire are now under way and police are urging any local residents who may have seen any suspicious activity to come forward."

Diana Kirk, who works as a chef at the pub, said: "I am devastated because it is my livelihood.

"I have been here seven years and to see it like this, it is heartbreaking."

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