firefighters battled for hours to prevent a blaze in a disused pub taking hold of the building and causing severe disruption in Rotherham town centre.
Crews were called out to the derelict Alma Tavern on Wellgate at 4.30am yesterday and found the roof space well alight.
Firefighters wearing specialist breathing apparatus braved the heat, flames and smoke to enter the pub and tackle the flames from inside in a bid to prevent them breaching the roof.
They managed to contain the blaze to the roof and by 7.30am the flames were out and firefighters were damping down.
Station manager Andy Hayter, who oversaw the operation, praised firefighters for stopping the blaze spreading.
“I can’t praise the watch manager and crews enough for putting a stop on the fire as quickly as they did to prevent it progressing and becoming an incident which would have caused severe disruption in the town centre,” he said.
“The road was closed while the firefighting operation was in progress but by the time people were wanting access for work we were able to move the cordon to allow people in to certain parts of Wellgate.
“If the flames had breached the roof it would have been a different matter.
“When firefighters arrived there was thick smoke and a large-scale fire in the roof at the rear of the property.
“At the height there were five appliances and an aerial ladder platform.”
An investigation into the cause of the blaze has been launched.