Derelict pub gutted by inferno

Fire Crews' attending the blaze at The Harlescott Pub, Shrewsbury|Fire Crews' access to the interior of the pub was hindered by boarded-up doors and windows|An extendable aerial ladder platform was used to put out the blaze|

More than 30 firefighters took three hours to bring under control a massive blaze which tore through a derelict Shrewsbury pub at about 9pm last night.

Crowds of up to 100 people gathered outside The Harlescott Inn to watch as five fire crews tackled the flames which leapt as high as 40ft into the air.

Fire chiefs said officers were hampered by dangerous conditions inside the derelict pub, in Whitchurch Road, because windows and doors had been boarded up.

Shrewsbury Station Officer Neil Grove said: "Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the front of the building with hosereel jets and attempted to stop the fire spreading to the main part of the pub.

"They were hampered by dangerous conditions inside the building caused by previous fires.

"In total five fire appliances, one aerial ladder platform, an Incident Commander from Shrewsbury and 30 firefighters were at the scene.

"Fire crews took approximately three hours to bring the fire under control and crews will remain at the scene for several more hours damping down."

Police officers attended the scene to assist fire crews with traffic control and would be working along the fire brigade if anything suspicious was discovered as a result of the fire.

The cause of the blaze is currently unknown and Fire investigation officers were due to attend the scene to carry out investigations today.

The Harlescott was the target of suspected arsonists last month when firefighters had to tackle a blaze at the pub for two hours on the evening of February 4.

18th March, 2006