Historic hotel up in flames

01:10, Apr 10 2012
Globe Hotel
RUDE AWAKENING: Nelson's Globe Hotel, which caught fire early yesterday. The long-term residents managed to escape the blaze.

Residents of a historic Nelson pub had an early-morning wake-up when they were evacuated as some rooms went up in flames yesterday.

Half a dozen long-term guests were inside the Globe Hotel on St Vincent St when the fire started.

The hotel is believed one of the oldest still in business in New Zealand.

It operates as a bar, which trades as Charlie's Tavern, with accommodation rooms above.

Nelson fire station officer Craig Davies said the guests were evacuated after the fire began about 3am in the south side of the hotel.

"They had a lucky escape due to the fire alarm. It just shows the importance of them," Mr Davies said.

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"It's made of native timber, so it's very, very hot burning and hard to put out.

"They were so lucky to be woken to get out," he said.

Fire crews took six hours to extinguish flames that spread to the roof and hot spots at the iconic Nelson building.

It dates back to the 1800s and is understood to be one of the oldest taverns in the country.

Today the charred remains of the building were cornered off and investigations are expected to resume on Tuesday.

However, initial scene examination show it was likely caused by an air-conditioning unit overheating, Mr Davies said.

Building owner Paul Kelly told the Nelson Mail today that the building was insured.

Alternative accommodation had been found for the tavern's guests, who were mainly long-term residents from Nelson.

"They have been taken care of with alternative accommodation, no problem," Mr Kelly said.

"The biggest thing is all their possessions are inside."

Many had their life possessions inside the rooms, but were able to collect some items once the fire was extinguished yesterday.

"It's an iconic, significant building in Nelson.

"It's a great shame to see it in its current form, but fortunately the people are out and all OK."

Mr Kelly has owned the building for the past eight years and recently had it on the market.

In March, it was listed on Trade Me with an asking price of $670,000.

Its rateable value is $570,000 and the lease to the tavern, currently held by Jim McDougall, expires in 2115, the Trade Me listing says.

The Nelson Mail