A PUB landlord who lost his family home in a devastating fire has vowed they will be back bigger and stronger.

Mike Long watched as the iconic Chideock pub, The Clockhouse Inn, was destroyed by the blaze - which 14 fire crews from Dorset, Devon and Somerset couldn’t stop on Bank Holiday Monday.

Mike, along with his wife Helen and daughters Charlotte and Jessica, lost everything they own – but have been overwhelmed by the goodwill of Chideock residents in donating all they can to help the family get back on their feet.

“I was ok with watching the thatch burning as I thought we can just get a new one,” said Mike.

“Then I saw flames in my bedroom window and that’s when I lost it and the tears kicked in. I knew then that my house was gone.”

Mike spotted the plume of smoke and saw fire engines rushing through the village while on an Easter egg hunt - before instinct took over, and he rushed inside the burning building and rescued his family’s pet rabbits and goldfish.

“The only thing that has kept me going through all of this is that when I saw those flames, I didn’t hear the words from my daughters asking where the rabbits are,” added Mike.

“I have got nothing - but at least I didn’t have to tell my girls that the rabbits were in the flames.”

Although some items were salvaged from the ground floor of the property, the family have lost sentimental items including photo albums, jewellery and wedding items - with the couple soon to be celebrating their tenth anniversary.

Firefighters were unable to salvage anything from the upstairs of the property as they couldn’t access the floor once the fire had taken hold.

“They have saved me some trophies and some clocks - but nothing of sentimental value,” said Mike.

Mike said: “I want to go in and stand where my bedroom was and I want to find one ring or bracelet - just one thing that I can give to Helen.

"That’s all I want to do - then come back when the house is clear and discuss how we rebuild it.”

Mike is determined to be back, and bring his family’s own history with it.

He said: “We will be back bigger, we will be back stronger and we will be back with more history."

“We will save whatever we can save in there – any tables or old oak beams. If the old oak beam can’t be used to support my building, I will use it as a pillar on my bar and I will build a memorial archway.”

Mike has been overwhelmed by messages of support and good luck he has received from villagers - and says it has given him more motivation to rebuild the Clockhouse Inn.

“There are no words at all in any language that can justify and show our gratitude of what people have done and are doing for us” he said.

“We are eternally grateful for what they are doing for us. It makes us even more determined to bring it back for them.”