The Star Inn at Harome: Restaurant fire treated as arson

Media caption,
Star at Harome: Michelin-starred restaurant gutted by fire

A fire that gutted a Michelin-starred restaurant in a 14th Century pub is being treated as arson.

Andrew Pern's Star Inn at Harome, North Yorkshire, sustained massive damage when it caught fire on Wednesday night.

The blaze ripped through the building's 4ft (1.2m) deep straw roof and destroyed much of its supporting frame.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it believes the fire was started deliberately.

A spokesperson said its investigators had examined the site with police crime scene officers and concluded arsonists were behind the blaze.

North Yorkshire Police said "a number of groups of people were in the area around the time of the fire".

It appealed for those with information to contact the force or to call Crimestoppers anonymously.

Image caption,
Investigators continued to assess the fire-damaged restaurant on Friday morning

Chef Mr Pern previously said the restaurant had been "reduced to ashes" and estimated it would take about a year to get its main dining area up and running again.

Speaking to BBC Look North, he described Thursday as an "awful day" as the extent of the damage in the previous night's inferno became apparent.

"Seeing your career go up in smoke isn't the best feeling in the world, but we're fairly robust characters and we'll bounce back," he said.

Firefighters were called to the gastropub, near Helmsley, shortly after 22:00 GMT on Wednesday.

At its height, 45 firefighters tackled the blaze, with all occupants managing to leave the restaurant safely.

Mr Pern praised quick-thinking staff for using fire extinguishers and a hose pipe after the blaze broke out.

"The local community has been amazing and I can't thank the staff enough for what they did when it first appeared we were on fire," he said.

"It was all hands on deck."

Image caption,
Chef Andrew Pern, who took on the restaurant in 1996, praised quick-thinking staff for attempting to douse the flames

Mr Pern said: "A 14th Century thatched pub is a bit of a tinderbox and you're fighting a losing battle with it.

"We've just recently had it re-thatched, the straw was very dry and we were in a bad place from the start."

He said the listed building would require careful restoration and it would be a "long run" before it reopened.

The chef, who took charge in 1996, is also the managing director of restaurants in York and Whitby. He has offered Star Inn staff work at his other restaurants while repairs take place.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The Star Inn, which Andrew Pern took on 25 years ago, also has 13 rooms for overnight stays

The Star Inn, situated on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, has become one of the most celebrated gastropubs in the country due to its "modern Yorkshire" dishes made from "locally sourced seasonal ingredients".

The restaurant is described in the Michelin Guide as "oozing character with its low beamed ceilings".

"While the restaurant side has a plush, luxurious feel, it's still very much the village local and you'll find the regulars supping on a pint of bespoke Two Chefs beer in the characterful bar," it reads.

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