Blaze sets back horse box pizza business

January 21 2021
Blaze sets back horse box pizza business

A NEW Thornbury business selling takeaway food from a horsebox has had to delay its opening after a fire caused serious damage.

James Murray, who owns Hawkes House Café and Bar in St Mary Street, was nearly ready to open the ‘House Box’ which is a horsebox selling takeaway food including wood fired pizzas.

But a blaze in the early hours of the morning on January 14 destroyed some of the structure and it will now have to be partly rebuilt.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said crews from Thornbury fire station were called out 3.55am to find the horse box on fire.

They quickly put it out using a hose and sent a message of support via their Facebook page, which said: "Sorry to see our local business suffering despite our best efforts. Hopefully they will be back up and running again ASAP."

James was opening the new venture to bring in an income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “The fire was pretty devastating, but the damage wasn’t as bad as we feared.

"We bought it about two or three weeks ago and we were trying to tart it up and go from there.

"The horsebox concept is new – we’re trying to get some revenue in a different way.

“We had been testing the wood fired pizza oven inside during the day and we left a few embers in the corner and the base failed. It took 12 hours to take off.

"The fire brigade were amazing.

"We’ve started to rebuild it, we’ve had to put in some extra long days and some extra work and will hopefully open on January 29."

When the blaze happened, James shared the news on his company Facebook page, where he received supportive messages.

He said: “Grateful we are all safe, grateful the fire brigade continue to be awesome through this pandemic. 2020/21 can kick us as much as it wants, but we won’t go down.”

James is planning to park the horsebox outside Hawkes House on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, serving lunches, coffee and wood-fired pizza in the evening.

For more details see @houseboxfare on Facebook.

The fire followed an earlier blaze on the afternoon of January 5, when crews from Thornbury and Southmead put out a small fire on the first floor of a property in the High Street, which had started accidentally.