Fire guts historic Canterbury hotel

A historic North Canterbury hotel has been gutted by fire just days after the property was sold.

Waipara Fire Service chief fire officer Paul Harris they were called to the historic Waipara Hotel about 2.30pm.

"The accommodation end of the hotel was pretty well involved in fire when we arrived," he said.

It took five fire crews more than 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

"We were quite hampered by false ceilings in the roof spaces which made it a quite difficult fire to fight."

No-one was in the building at the time of the fire, Mr Harris said.

The building had only just been sold.

"It went up for auction last Friday and it was sold. The possession was in July sometime so the previous owners were still there."

"It's got accommodation for approximately 10 rooms. It's not a huge place, it's an old country-type hotel, it's about 130 years old."

The accommodation end of the building was "pretty well burned out", Mr Harris said.

"The kitchen etcetera is all gone, the bar area and all that area is all pretty well good apart from the water and smoke damage."

The owner's dogs were rescued by passers-by, Mr Harris said. No neighbouring buildings were threatened by the blaze.

Southern fire communications shift manager Andrew Norris said on arrival the building was found to be "well involved" in fire.

"It's suffered extensive damage." Fire crews remained at the site until around 6.30pm dampening down hot spots, Mr Norris said.

Specialist fire investigators were due to investigate the blaze tomorrow, however the fire was not thought to be suspicious, he said.

- Brendan Manning of APNZ

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