The owners of an iconic pub and adjoining restaurant destroyed in a huge fire have said they ‘will rebuild’ it.

Around 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Dressers Arms and Little Hong Kong restaurant, Briers Lane, Wheelton, which broke out at around 5.30am last Thursday.

Two residents at the pub escaped unharmed and adjoining cottages were evacuated as the fire service used six pumps and an aerial ladder to control the fire and prevent the flames spreading to nearby homes.

Such was the intensity of the flames that teams of firefighters laid out hoses for more than half a mile to the Leeds Liverpool canal to create an adequate water source.

Landlord Steven Turner looked on in horror as the extent of the damage to the pub, which dates back to the 1700s, became apparent. There were no reported injuries during the incident.

The cost of the damage to the premises, just off the A674 between Blackburn and Chorley, is expected to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Dave Catterall runs the Little Hong Kong, which was above the Dressers Arms, with wife Lorna, daughter Holly and son Jack. He said: “We’re devastated and distraught to see this. Everyone has worked hard to build the business and to see this happen is heartbreaking.But we will rebuild and the Dressers Arms and Little Hong Kong will be back bigger and better than ever.”

He thanked everyone for their support and hailed the fire service for ‘their amazing efforts’.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue group manager Tony Crook led the operation.He said: “When the first crews arrived they were confronted with a very severe situation, it was a massive fire. The wooden beams of the roof were exposed and were burned through.

“The flames were coming out of the roof of the pub and the first job was to establish a reliable water supply which was done by attaching a hose to the canal, which is some distance away.

“The efforts to contain the fire were very successful and that saved a number of the adjoining stone cottages from being destroyed.”

“We are truly overwhelmed with the touching messages of concern.

“Thanks so much to Chorley police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue for fantastic support and .

“We are truly grateful for all their work and bravery.”

Briers Lane resident Ian Grundy praised the work of fire crews who he said had ‘performed heroically’ to stop the fire spreading further.

He said: “There was a loud knock on the window at around 5.30am. It was a fireman telling me to get out.

“Once outside I didn’t think it would be that serious but then the pub burst into fire with flames coming through the roof.

“The teams did a brilliant job to contain it and stop it damaging any of the cottages.”

“We are unsure at the moment how it was caused but a full investigation has begun.”

Fire crews from Blackburn, Chorley and Bamber Bridge attended.