Backbencher gutted by fire

Photo by Kent Blechynden, of the Dom Post.

Stuff reports:

Firefighters were called to a fire at well-known Wellington landmark the Pub this morning.

Fire Service central communications shift manager Murray Dunbar said firefighters were alerted at 4.45am when an alarm went off in the multi-storey Kate Sheppard apartment building, next to the pub.

It is understood the fire began in the pub’s kitchen.

Apartment residents were evacuated and eight fire trucks were sent.

Thank goodness no one was harmed, but this is still an awful thing. The Backbencher is an iconic Wellington institution.

Boycie and his staff will be devastated. Seeing the damage will be soul destroying, and their collection of political cartoons and puppets may be irreplacable.

I worked at the Red Cross on Hill Street in 1990 when the Backbencher opened, and went there on its opening day. So I’ve been going there for over 20 years, and it comes close to my second home. I just hope the damage doesn’t see it closed for too long.

On a more practical note, it means the TV show will need a new venue for its final three shows on TVNZ7.

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