Fire destroys Axe and Compasses in Arkesden, Essex, on Mother's Day

  • Drone footage captured the extent of the damage at the Axe and Compasses

The first floor and thatched roof of a pub were destroyed by a fire that broke out just hours before it was due to welcome more than 150 people for Mother's Day.

Crews were called to the Axe and Compasses in Arkesden in north Essex at about 11.40am on Sunday.

They arrived to find more than half the building in Main Street alight, and the entire roof, said Essex Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire caused the building to collapse at the rear, and heavy smoke-logging inside, as well as extensive water damage from the attempts to extinguish it.

Incident commander Craig McLellan said members of the public had played their part in taking furniture salvaged from the building away to safety.

The thatched roof at the Axe and Compasses was completely destroyed. Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue Service

"When disaster strikes, it’s heart-warming to see communities come together to make a positive difference," he said.

“Our thoughts go out to the long-term Landlord of the Axe and Compasses, where 150 people were due to eat for Mother’s Day.

"It's looking like the cause of the fire was accidental, but a full investigation is being carried out.”

The thatched roof was destroyed, and the first floor collapsed, said the fire service. Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue Service

He added: “Due to the thatched roof, the fire spread quickly and unfortunately both the roof and first floor fell in."

He said crews would be on site until Monday morning to dampen down any hotspots in the building.