Leeds family's pub blaze escape

A landlord has spoken of his family's lucky escape after a fire ripped through their Leeds pub.

Alan Butcher, 54, his partner Deb McConnell, 49, her son William, 15, along with family boxer dog Molly were trapped in their first floor flat above the Hare and Hounds, Commercial Street, Rothwell after a blaze broke out in the early hours on Sunday.

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The family were woken by a smoke alarm at around 3am and realised their escape route was too dangerous to negotiate due to the thick, black and acrid smoke.

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They alerted emergency services and were advised to shut the bedroom door, open a window and wait for fire crews to arrive.

Fire crews from Rothwell, Hunslet and Leeds dealt with the incident.

Firefighters carried Miss McConnell to safety down a ladder and the rest of the family were able to walk out after smoke was cleared.

The family were checked over by paramedics at the scene and did not need hospital treatment.

Mr Butcher said: "We've got to think ourselves lucky we got out in one piece. Everything else we will just have to take on the chin."

Mr Butcher said he believes the whole of the downstairs of the pub will need a re-fit and estimates the business could be closed for up to four weeks."

He added: "We only re-fitted the pub four years ago and spent a lot of

money doing it up.

"It's as if we are starting again now. We have put our hearts and souls and a lot of money into this place. We were just getting back on our feet, it's a major setback."

Watch commander Andy Rose of Rothwell Fire Station, said the fire started after a carpet was ignited by an ember from an open fire in the pub and the blaze then spread to furniture.

He added: "The pub has an open fire, that was the cause. They called the fire service and were kept on the line by fire service control who offered fire survival guidance. They were trapped and their escape route was blocked."

Mr Rose said the pub had a fire safety inspection last July and said the smoke alarm had saved the family.

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