Firecrews spent hours tackling a fierce blaze which nearly ravaged The Fancott pub in Chalton on Tuesday.
The fire broke out in an outbuilding at the back of the pub at around 3.40pm. Beds Fire and Rescue Service used hose reels and the hydraulic lift to bring the blaze under control.
Police controlled traffic past the incident at the country pub, famous for its mini railway.
No-one was hurt in the blaze. The outbuilding suffered 100 per cent damage from the fire, and the kitchen was damaged by fire, heat and smoke. There was also some water damage to the main building to prevent the fire spreading.
Paul Wallman, owner of The Fancott, said: “As far as we know, the start of the fire was the dustbin, possibly from a cigarette butt.
“The actual pub is intact but the kitchen and cellar extensions and all the outside buildings are badly damaged. I’ve not even met with anybody about the insurance yet.”
Mr Wallman said he expected the pub to be closed for at least a couple of months due to the damage. He said there was only a couple of members of staff and two or three customers present at the time of the blaze.
He added: “It just happened so fast. They spotted it and it was just amazing how it all happened within minutes.”
A Beds Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “When the first fire crews arrived at the scene there was already a well established fire in the outbuilding at the rear of the pub, which was spreading to the kitchen in the main building.
“Firefighters at the scene worked extremely well to protect the main building and contain the fire. Firefighters also carried out an extensive salvage operation to protect the contents of the building from further damage.”
On their Facebook page management at the pub said: I’m sure many have already seen or heard, unfortunately we have had a fire in The Fancott this afternoon. Thankfully the pub was evacuated in time and everyone is safe and well. The pub will be closed until further notice and we thank everyone for their kind messages and support.”