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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 17:38 GMT
Blaze damages Hay's historic pub
The Three Tuns fire, pic courtesy of Eric Pugh
The fire took hold in the upper floor at the Three Tuns
Fire has severely damaged an historic pub in the literary town of Hay-on-Wye, on the Wales-England border.

The blaze in the 400-year-old Three Tuns is believed to have started on the upper floor.

Landlady Lucy Powell, whose family have run the pub for 83 years, was rescued from the ground floor.

The alarm was raised shortly before 0900 GMT on Thursday by a passer-by. Hay is best known for hosting a major literary festival each year.

"How it started I have no idea," said Ms Powell, who first found about the fire when someone knocked on her door.

The pub hasn't changed since before the 1930s and Lucy is a character
Customer Haydn Pugh

"Luckily I hadn't gone to bed," said Ms Powell, one of Hay's best-known residents.

"Someone said there's smoke coming from the roof," she added.

The Three Tuns is one of the oldest buildings in the town, second only to Hay Castle.

It has been a watering hole for many well-known figures, including musician and TV presenter Jools Holland, and singer and actor Marianne Faithfull.

Water damage

The Great Train Robbers, who carried out what was then Britain's biggest theft in 1963, are thought to have visited the pub while they were on the run .

Lucy Powell
An annual 'St Lucy festival' celebrates the Three Tuns' landlady
Regular Haydn Pugh was shocked by the fire at a pub he has dubbed "head office", but relieved Ms Powell was safe.

Mr Pugh is one of the organisers of Hay's "St Lucy festival", the annual celebration by regulars of her birthday.

"It looks like it started upstairs but there will be water damage downstairs, there was a lot of intense heat," he said.

Ms Powell said she had not yet thought far enough ahead to the pub reopening.

"The pub hasn't changed since before the 1930s and Lucy is a character," he said.

"People from all around the world come back year after year to see her. The main thing Lucy is safe," he added.

Resident Jessica Waters said: "It's terrible, there is no roof at all, it's so sad because it's such a lovely place, it's so unique."




SEE ALSO:
MBE for Hay's book king
31 Dec 03 |  Mid
Fire-ravaged medieval pub reopens
16 Dec 04 |  South East Wales


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