STAFF quarters and a large section of roof at a Poole pub have been destroyed by fire.

Fourteen firefighting crews tackled the blaze at Miller & Carter Steakhouse, Wallisdown Road, on Saturday afternoon.

No-one was injured in the incident, which was reported just before 3pm, but onlookers said flames leapt up to 20ft into the air.

Passerby Billie Louise Stock, who rushed to help people evacuate the pub, told the Echo: “I knew instantly something wasn’t right but thought it was possibly a training exercise with the TA premises next door. As we approached the car park, I saw it was coming from the pub.

“It was probably stupid to do so but I acted on instinct and ran in to help. I ran in, along with two other people, who went on into the main pub entrance. I then ran round the back to ensure if anyone was there who would get out safely.”

Dozens of people stopped to watch the drama unfold, as firefighters using an aerial ladder worked to stop the blaze from engulfing the building.

Police, firefighters from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS), firefighters from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, paramedics and the Red Cross support vehicle attended the scene.

DWFRS has not confirmed what is believed to have caused the blaze, and workers from Miller & Carter also declined to comment.

Firefighters had the blaze under control by 6pm, but remained on scene throughout the night to dampen down and check for any possible reignition.

A DWFRS spokesman said: “On arrival there was found to be a fire upstairs in the staff accommodation and affecting the roof, and quickly called for the aerial ladder from Westbourne, a fire engine from Redhill Park, a water carrier from Ringwood Fire Station and further appliances for Blandford, two from Wimborne and Christchurch, Poole and Fordingbridge

“The two-storey building, of approx 20m by 40m had a fire on the upper floor which had spread to the roof. It was extinguished using 20 breathing apparatus, hose reel jets and ten main lines, and was under control by 18:01.

“Further re-inspections took place to check the building.”

Police closed off part of Wallisdown Road near the steakhouse, with traffic being diverted through the BP garage.

The southbound carriageway of Ringwood Road, approaching the Mountbatten Roundabout, was also closed for several hours.