Stevenage pub evacuated in fire drama

PUNTERS in a packed pub who were enjoying Christmas drinks had to be evacuated after a fire broke out on the premises.

Two fire engines from Stevenage were called to Wetherspoons’ The Standing Order in the Old Town just before 11pm on Christmas Eve, following reports that a fireplace had caught light.

Revellers were escorted out into the cold via the back entrance and told to finish their drinks as smoke fumes filled the High Street pub, which shut for the evening as a result of the blaze.

The fire services believe the cause was accidental and had dealt with the fire by 11.30pm.

The pub was due to stay open until 1am for one of the busiest nights out of the year, but had to close over one-and-a-half hours earlier than planned as a result of the incident.

Gemma Wells, of Stevenage, who was in the pub at the time, said: “I was just having drinks with my friends when I noticed that I could smell smoke.

“The fire alarms went off and next thing I knew we were being escorted out with drinks in hand.

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“It put a real damper on the evening.”

A spokesman for Wetherspoons said: “There were no flames as it was between the back of the fireplace and the wooden frame but it was glowing and had heated up somehow.

“I think it was just some freak thing that happened and fortunately no one was hurt.

The spokesman added: “We were only open until 1am so it has not had a big impact on revenue and we opened the next day as usual.

“The fireplace is currently being looked at.”