Lucky escape

Friends fun raising for Ovenden Way Freehouse.
Friends fun raising for Ovenden Way Freehouse.

The landlord of an Ovenden pub has praised friends and firefighters after a lucky escape for his family as a fire ripped through their home and destroyed their possessions.

Stephen Wainhouse, who runs the Ovenden Way Freehouse, was in the pub along with his partner Margaret, their three children and a family friend as the blaze started in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Having run the pub for the last seven years and lived there for the past 18 months, Mr Wainhouse described how 19-year-old daughter Natasha noticed smoke from her loft bedroom.

“The firefighters said if we didn’t get out in those 60 to 90 seconds then we might not be here now,” he said.

The fire investigation report believed the blaze had started by a cigarette being stubbed out in the planters and due to the hot, dry weather it had smouldered and started the blaze to the outside decking area.

Firefighters from across Calderdale were called to Ovenden Way at 5.19am when they discovered 80 per cent of the rear and upper floor of the pub was on fire.

Crews from Illingworth, Halifax, Elland, Brighouse, Odsal and Fairweather Green attended with the hose laying unit from Mirfield and personnel welfare unit from Fairweather Green.

Engines from five other appliances from around the brigade also attended to provide support.

Mr Wainhouse was full of praise for the fire crews and to friends and family since the fire.

“The fire men went above and beyond and were absolutely fantastic. They helped us keep it all together and the first engine arrived in just four minutes.

“Our friends and regulars have been amazing and really supportive as there is not a lot we could do as we had very little of our personal stuff left.

“Eclipse Lettings have also bent over backwards to sort us out with some accommodation so we would like to say a big thanks to them and everyone else.”

Engineers from Calderdale Council have inspected the building and concluded the building is still structurally sound with a few more standard checks and paperwork to be completed before work can start on the pub.

“A lot of people were upset when they found out what happened as it is a big part of the community. However, we hope to come back bigger and better with a fresh new look and we are aiming to open by Christmas all being well,” added Mr Wainhouse.

Fundraising efforts to help the pub have already started with Joanne Martin, who has known the family for a number of years, and other friends who are in the early stages of organising a fancy dress pub crawl in Halifax.

They have set a date of August 31 and anyone wanting to find out more or get involved can contact Jo on