PUBLISHED: 02:01 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:59 10 June 2010
A BUDLEIGH Salterton pub landlord has been hailed a hero for preventing a gas explosion when his High Street pub caught fire. Feather's landlord John Salt, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, braved thick smoke and flames to train water from a hosepipe
A BUDLEIGH Salterton pub landlord has been hailed a hero for preventing a gas explosion when his High Street pub caught fire.Feather's landlord John Salt, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, braved thick smoke and flames to train water from a hosepipe to cool a courtyard gas pipe - while fire, which gutted the pub's kitchen, raged all around.Wife Joan Salt said her husband's selfless actions prevented an explosion.When the fire brigade took over, Mr Salt was treated for smoke inhalation and given oxygen by paramedics.Mrs Salt agreed her husband had been a hero. "If the gas pipe had erupted, I don't think there would be a pub," she said."There was so much smoke I couldn't see him."The drama began shortly after midnight after the couple had gone to bed - and smoke alarms began sounding.Evacuating his wife and five hotel guests to safety, Mr Salt ran back inside and discovered a plastic bin was alight in the pub courtyard. The flames quickly spread to the adjoining kitchen wall, turning into a raging inferno when they hit fat fryers.It is thought the fire was started by a smouldering cigarette butt that was dropped into the plastic bin, igniting empty crisp bags. Exmouth firefighter watch commander Nigel Deasy said Mr Salt's quick-thinking had lessened the fire damage to the pub."The smoke had got to a level where he had to lie on the floor. That was the only place to get fresh air," he said.Said Mr Deasy: "When we arrived, we isolated the mains gas."Our advice would always be to get out of a fire as soon as possible and let the firefighters do the job in protective gear." The defiant couple refuse to be thwarted by the fire, which has totally destroyed the pub kitchen.Despite a sleepless night watching on helplessly as 30 firefighters battled the blaze, it was business as usual on Tuesday morning.Work has already begun creating a temporary kitchen - and the Feathers Hotel hopes to be serving a reduced menu from Monday.