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Mr Kerr said when he arrived at work about 6.30am, a truck driver rang in to notify him he could see a fire in the roof.
‘‘If it had happened at 2am in the morning it might have been a whole different story.’’
It had been caused by a blockage in the chimney of the main bar, he said.
Mr Kerr said the fire brigades from Twizel, Omarama and Otematata which attended had done a ‘‘bloody great job’’.
They prevented widespread damage and had the fire under control by 11.30am, he said.
‘‘What made the problem worse was the roof was so frosty and the pitch of the roof meant the men had to use their harnesses to get up there.’’
He was waiting for an insurance assessment but builders had already begun making the roof weather-tight.
‘‘We are closed for the day, but we will be open again tomorrow.’’