Arson suspected as fire destroys popular city pub the George and Dragon in Redfield
By The Bristol Post | Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 08:00
REGULARS and neighbours of a popular city pub have spoken of their shock after a huge fire tore through the building.
The George and Dragon pub, St George, which was hit by fire Pictures by Post reader Gary Horne
Fire crews at the scene
Police believe the blaze at the George and Dragon in Redfield was an arson attack.
A total of 40 firefighters were needed to bring the blaze at the building on Church Road, between Avonvale Road and Lyppiatt Road, under control early yesterday morning.
Church Road was closed during the morning rush hour and remained partly blocked throughout much of the day, as scaffolding was erected to secure the front of the building.
Stephen Nicholls, 26, from Kingswood, who was drinking in the pub on Sunday evening, told The Post he was devastated.
He said: "I was in there late last night and it was just like any normal night. Everyone seemed to be happy. All the regulars were there and everyone was having a good time.
"When I heard the news I was devastated. I still can't believe it was started deliberately. I can't understand who would want to do it."
A fellow drinker at the pub, who asked not to be named, said the landlord, who lives above the pub, escaped unhurt.
Caroline Kowaska, 29, who lives in the St Georges Heights flats, in view of the pub, said she was woken by fire engines and the smell of smoke.
She said: "I woke up around 4am because it was so noisy. I looked out the window and saw the fire. I saw the smoke rising and could smell it. The smell of burning wood was everywhere."
A 48-year-old woman who lives in the same building said she was woken by loud shouting and the sound of fire engines.
She said: "I went out on the balcony at around 2.45am and there were firemen everywhere below.
"I was scared at first, as it was so close and I had no idea what was going on. When I looked across the street I saw a man with his dog on the ground with a policeman and fireman talking to him."
She added that she was shocked to hear the blaze had been started deliberately.
Avon Fire and Rescue Service Spokesman Darren Bane said crews first arrived at the scene of the blaze at 1.45am but the flames were so fierce it was "impossible" for them to get inside. Hydraulic cranes were used to raise firefighters onto a platform above the building where hose reels were used to douse the flames.
Mr Bane said: "At its peak there were 40 firefighters in attendance. All relevant people have been accounted for."
Avon and Somerset police spokesman Wayne Baker said officers were treating the incident as suspicious.
He said: "We would like to speak to anyone who may have been in the area on Monday between midnight and 2am, who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously."
Anyone with information should call Bristol CID on 101.