THE OWNER of a recently-refurbished village pub had to be rushed to hospital after an explosion in the building's kitchen which left three others injured.

Firefighters were called to The Lamb Inn, in Crawley near Witney, on Wednesday at around 11.30am.

The pub's general manager Paul Piper, who was in the bar at the time, said: "I heard a big bang in the kitchen. We don't know any more than that about what happened at the moment."

He said no customers were in the pub at the time, just himself, owner Sebastian Snow, and three other staff members.

Mr Snow suffered burns and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital by South Central Ambulance Service but was expected to be able to return home yesterday.

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The three others were treated by paramedics at the scene, with two later going to hospital as a precaution, according to Mr Piper.

Neighbour Graham Howkins heard the explosion from his house opposite the pub and ran to see what was happening.

He said: "I was in my back garden when it went off. I've never heard anything like it before and it was loud enough to catch my attention.

"People were milling around when I got there and I asked if they wanted me to dial 999. I got out of the way then though, because I didn't want to be in the way of the firefighters and ambulance."

The Oxford Times:

Mr Howkins, who only moved to Crawley six months ago, said he knew Mr Snow and his wife Lana well, adding they had 'got to know the village together' and he was a regular at the pub.

He said: "It's fantastic what they have done with the place and such a shame this has happened."

The couple only reopened the 18th century pub in April after a major refurbishment.

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Longtime publicans, the pair left London for the Cotswolds in July 2008 after running Hammersmith restaurant Snows on the Green for 17 years.

In August 2012, they took on The Five Alls at Filkins from Brakespear and then in 2015, the nearby Plough at Kelmscott came up for sale and they purchased it. The lease for The Bull in Fairford also followed in 2016.

Last year they sold their gastropub chain, trading under the name Turf to Table Ltd, to the The Barkby Group.

Mr Snow is also a chef who has previously worked with Antony Worrall Thompson.

The fire service said that the cause of the pub explosion is still being investigated but is believed to be accidental and that it was working with West Oxfordshire District Council and structural surveyors.

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Local residents have suggested it was a gas explosion, but this has not been confirmed.

A notice on the pub's Facebook page said: "Due to an unexpected incident today [Wednesday] the kitchen will be closed for the next few days.

"Sebastian is doing well, thank you so much for all of your kind messages and support. We will keep you updated. Lots of love, Sebastian and Lana."

Mr Piper, who was has worked with the couple at both the Plough and The Five Alls, added: "We will be up and running as quick and as soon as possible."