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Mystery surrounds 'UK's wonkiest pub' fire with access 'blocked' during blaze as police prob 'intruder' claims
8 August 2023, 06:45
Crooked House pub gutted after fire rips through historic building
Investigators are probing a mysterious fire that destroyed the UK's famously crooked pub, with firefighters claiming their access was blocked by mounds of dirt.
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As LBC reported the Crooked House in Himley, Staffordshire, was engulfed in flames around 10pm Saturday. With intruders reportedly seen inside the closed pub moments before the blaze erupted.
The fire came just days after developers bought the 18th-century pub, which would no longer operate as a pub according to the brewery.
Fire crews from Staffordshire and West Midlands raced to the rural site but could not contain the inferno.
One of the first firefighters at the scene has now revealed his crew's access to the building was restricted due to a mound of dirt "blocking" the rural road.
Due to the blocked access, firefighters had to park a third of the way up the lane and roll out 40 lengths of hose to reach the building as it was engulfed in flames, according to reports.
Locals claim intruders were inside partying and playing loud music just before the fire erupted. But police said no one was inside when it ignited.
Chris Green, who has served in the fire service for 16 years and has been watch commander at Tipton Fire Station since 2021, said access was difficult due to mounds of dirt blocking the road.
Mr Green told Express and Star: "When we got there the lads had to work so hard because there were mounds of dirt that had been put in the road blocking the lane.
"They could have been put there as a security measure."
Authorities are now working to "establish the cause" of the puzzling blaze. Forensics teams have been inspecting the scene as part of the ongoing investigation.
Nicknamed "Britain's wonkiest pub," the Crooked House was famed for its extreme slant caused by 19th century mining subsidence.
The off-kilter tourist attraction had been listed as a Grade II historic building since the 1960s before being ravaged by the mysterious fire.
A Staffordshire Police spokesperson said: "Officers were called to a report of a fire at what used to be the Crooked House pub on Himley Road.
"Crews from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were already in attendance and had extinguished the blaze. No one was believed to be inside the building and no one has been reported injured.
"We are now working with fire investigators to establish the cause of the fire. Fire investigators are inspecting the scene this morning and officers are making local enquiries to secure any information that might help the investigation.
"Anyone who may have any information that could help with the investigation are asked to get in touch."