VIDEO: Investigators say cause of Cawsand pub fire may not be known for days
INVESTIGATORS searching for the cause of a blaze which ripped through a derelict South East Cornwall pub have said they may not get an answer for several days.
At the height of the blaze on Saturday night, 65 firefighters were in attendance at the Old Ship Inn at Cawsand.
The fire, which started at about 7.30pm on Saturday, lit up the night sky above the village and left the derelict pub and two holiday cottages wrecked.
Villagers tried to tackle the blaze with buckets of water but were beaten back by the heat.
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Police and fire chiefs said today that, due to the unsafe structure, the team are “unable to investigate further inside the property”.
“It is unlikely that the internal investigation will commence for a couple of days,” said a spokesman for Cornwall Fire and Rescue.
They added: “A joint police and fire investigation has commenced although no conclusions have been reached as to the possible cause of the fire.”
Torpoint fire station manager Derek Hunt was one of the first emergency service on the scene
He said: “The building was 100 per cent alight when we arrived.
“Flames were pouring out of the downstairs windows.”
The narrow streets of the village presented firefighters with a headache and threatened surrounding homes.
Fire crews tackled the blaze from the hillside above before going into the building.
About a dozen people were evacuated from the closest homes.
Sgt Ryan Canning from Devon and Cornwall Police said that most of the nearby properties were empty holiday homes.
“It might have been much worse at the height of summer,” he said.
Police officers forced their way into five empty properties nearby to allow firefighters to check that no one was trapped.
“It was a really dangerous situation because of the geography and the very old buildings, so it was quickly declared a major incident. Additional resources were brought in from South East Cornwall and Plymouth.
Sgt Canning said Cornwall Council, the British Red Cross and the police had put into action their emergency plan but the close-knit village had rallied around and taken care of those displaced.