The fire at Greytown’s Turkey Red Hotel on Tuesday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

STAFF REPORTERS

A fire has damaged the Middle Pub in Greytown, which traded until last year as Turkey Red.

Main Street, part of State Highway 2, was closed for several hours between Jellicoe and North streets on Tuesday afternoon. A command centre was set up on the road outside the charred building.

The alarm was raised about 2.50pm and police attended to help.

Greytown station officer Seth Rance said the fire was under control in about 10 minutes.

The fire was in the roof and the second storey of the building and a fire investigator was on the way on Tuesday to establish the cause.

Also a New Zealand international cricketer, Rance said eight fire appliances were sent to the blaze, from Masterton, Carterton, Featherston, Greytown, Avalon and Trentham. He said no one was in the building at the time, but owner Richard McNaughton said there was evidence someone had been living in the building illegally.

There was a sleeping bag and other possessions on site and the back doors were open. There was also evidence of drug use.

He unveiled plans last year to redevelop the building with apartments upstairs and a commercial business downstairs.

Former owner Marilla Rankin, who now lives in Carterton, was outside on Tuesday and said it was sad to look at the damaged building that had been her home for eight years.

She was a pioneer of promoting Greytown and had hosted music events at Turkey Red, which she ran as a pub and accommodation business.

The Turkey Red website said the pub was built in 1870 and was first known as the Forrester’s Arms.

It was a country pub offering stabling, meals, spirits and such, accommodation and transportation to and from the railway station.