VIDEO: Thirty firefighters tackle blaze at The Blackbirds Inn in Woodditton - the pub has been safely evacuated

PUBLISHED: 14:53 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:59 02 March 2018

Before and after the major fire at The Blackbirds Inn.

Before and after the major fire at The Blackbirds Inn.

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Fire has caused substantial damage to the grade II listed Blackbirds Inn at Woodditton near Newmarket.

Major fire at The Blackbirds Inn. Photo: @Blackbirds_Inn / Twitter Major fire at The Blackbirds Inn. Photo: @Blackbirds_Inn / Twitter

The pub/restaurant has for the past two years been owned by the Suffolk-based Chestnut Group who bought it for £580,000 but have since invested heavily in the business.

At one stage today more than 30 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze that the owners say it will remained closed for the foreseeable future.

A Cambs Fire & Rescue Service spokesman said: “The pub has been safely evacuated but the fire is well-developed.

Major fire at The Blackbirds Inn. Photo: @Blackbirds_Inn / Twitter Major fire at The Blackbirds Inn. Photo: @Blackbirds_Inn / Twitter

“Crews from Burwell, Huntingdon, Cambridge, St Neots, along with crews from Haverhill, Wickhambrook and Newmarket in Suffolk are at scene.

“A road closure is in place and there are a number of fire engines at the scene so please avoid the area.”

A statement issued by the owners said there were no customers in the building at the time and all members of staff were able to exit quickly and safely.

The Three Blackbirds. The Three Blackbirds.

“The management at The Blackbirds Inn and its parent company, The Chestnut Group, are working with the fire brigade to establish the cause of the fire,” said the statement.

“Significant damage has been caused to the building and the site will be closed until further notice.”

The Chestnut Group was established in May 2012 by Philip Turner, who wanted to create a portfolio of hostelries that he said “would defy pigeon-holing into the standard classifications of pub, hotel or restaurant, but be simply synonymous with a great experience”.

Major fire at The Blackbirds Inn. Photo: @Blackbirds_Inn / Twitter Major fire at The Blackbirds Inn. Photo: @Blackbirds_Inn / Twitter

The group now employs over 130 people and includes ownership of the Packhorse Inn in Moulton, the Rupert Brooke in Grantchester, The White Horse in Easton and The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds.

A Cambs Fire & Rescue Service spokesman said: “The pub has been safely evacuated but the fire is well-developed.

“Crews from Burwell, Huntingdon, Cambridge, St Neots, along with crews from Haverhill, Wickhambrook and Newmarket in Suffolk are at scene.

“A road closure is in place and there are a number of fire engines at the scene so please avoid the area.”

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