Fire crews were called to a burning building in Gateshead last night after concerns people could be inside.
18 firefighters from stations across Tyne and Wear responded to a call to the disused pub 'The Gardeners Arms' on Carrhill Road.
The blaze destroyed the roof and first floor of the building but checks showed that nobody was inside.
Crews returned this morning to make sure the fire has been fully extinguished.
More top news
"I would personally like to thank the local community for their amazing donations of food, toiletries and clothing. "
Owners John and Irene Hays say there is ''light at the end of the tunnel'', after the pandemic forced them to close 650 UK stores.
There has been resistance to calls to dismantle memorials to the explorer.