POLICE and fire chiefs have launched an investigation after a landmark Burnley pub was torched at the weekend.
The White Hart Inn, in Church Street, which is set to be turned into an Indian restaurant, was severely damaged by heat and smoke following the fire around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
Six firefighters from Burnley fire station, spent two-and-a-half hours bringing the flames under control and watch manager Steve Harrison said the culprits had put crews in danger.
“There were several seats of fire and it was difficult to locate them. It was dangerous because it looks like someone has been vandalising it. The floorboards were up so imagine in the smoke and dark, it’s dangerous. Whoever did it doesn’t care how dangerous it is for other people.”
Firefighters received a call from a passer-by who spotted smoke coming from the building.
The Express revealed last month how plans had been approved by Burnley Borough Council to change the pub into an Indian
eatery called Shimla Spice.
The proposals from Mr Mahmood Akhtar, show plans for a first-floor dining area and extension to the back, to make a larger reception and waiting area, with the restaurant opening between 5 p.m. and midnight seven days
Watch manager Harrison added: “It was badly damaged inside but not structurally. It was mainly fixtures and fittings that were damaged.
“We’ve got various witnesses and other things so hopefully they’ll be able to point us in the right direction.”