Pub regulars 'devastated' after George and Dragon blaze
PUB regulars at the George and Dragon and residents living nearby have told of their shock after a huge fire tore through the building last night.
The blaze, which is believed to have been started deliberately, took 40 firefighters to get under control early this morning.
Seven crews were called to the building on Church Road, between Avonvale Road and Lyppiatt Road, to tackle the blaze.
The road remains closed as services attempted to secure the front of the building.
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Stephen Nicholls, 26, from Kingswood, who was drinking in the pub on last night, 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 have wanted to do it."
A fellow drinker at the pub, who chose not to be named, said he had contacted the landlord, named locally as Andy, who lives above the pub.
He said: "I sent him a text this morning to make sure he was all right and he said he was fine."
Caroline Kowaska, 29, who lives in the St Georges Heights flats, adjacent to 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 support worker, who lives in the same building, said she was woken by load shouting and the sound of the fire engines.
She said: "I went out on the balcony at around 2.45 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 an 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. She said: "Somebody must have had a grudge against the landlord I expect."
Avon Fire and Rescue Service Spokesman Darren Bane said crews attended the incident at 1.45am.
He said the fire was so fierce it was "impossible" to for crews to get inside. Hydraulic cranes were used to raise firefighters onto a platform above the building where high pressure 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."
He added that the cause of the fire is believed to be deliberate but investigators will be looking more closely at the property when the building has been secured.
Avon and Somerset Police said they are working with the fire service to establish the cause of the fire.Anyone with information or who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area is asked to call the police on 101.