Blaze at Harborne Lord of the Rings pub

The Huntsman, formerly known as the Kings Arms, was renovated at the end of May

A "severe" fire which broke out at a Lord of the Rings-themed pub may have been sparked by nearby workers re-felting a roof, fire crews say.

Passers-by reported clouds of thick smoke coming from The Huntsman, on the High Street in Harborne, Birmingham, shortly before midday.

Steve Husband, of West Midlands Fire Service, said it appeared the "hot gear" being used by workmen on the roof caused sparks on the timbers below.

Harborne's High Street remains shut.

The Huntsman, formerly known as the Kings Arms, was renovated at the end of May following a £40,000 makeover.

At its height, 30 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze.

A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said about 60% of the pub had been affected by the fire, which was mainly on the first floor and in the roof space.

'Whole roof ablaze'

He added: "We've controlled the fire before it spread to adjacent buildings which we were initially concerned about."

Passer-by Stuart Chamberlains said he alerted staff at The Huntsman to the burning building.

He said: "We were outside the building when the smoke started billowing from the roof.

Harborne pub roof fire Fire crews said that about 60% of the building had been affected

"The pub was occupied at the time and we told the occupier that they should leave while I called 999.

"Within about 10 minutes, the whole roof was ablaze with flames some 30 feet in the air."

Jon Tattersall, who works at St John's Church in Harborne, which is just opposite the Huntsman pub, said he was "shocked" at the scale of the fire and said the pub was now just a "gutted building".

He said he did not believe anyone had been inside the pub at the time.

He added: "There were a lot of firemen running around... The pub's very close to the road and is situated at the end of the high street, so it would've been a danger to traffic and pedestrians, so the road has been shut off."

Mr Tattersall said the smoke had since died down.

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