Fires that gutted two London pubs yards away from each other being treated as suspicious by police

31 August 2023, 13:48

Both pubs caught fire yards away from each other
Both pubs caught fire yards away from each other. Picture: Twitter/London Fire Brigade

By Will Taylor

Fires that ripped through two derelict pubs in South London that are just yards away from each other are being treated as "suspicious".

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Former boozers the Windmill and the Drum and Monkey in Croydon caught ablaze early in the morning just minutes apart.

Fire crews rushed to the first fire at about 5.30am and the second was reported some 15 minutes later.

They are just a three minute walk apart.

The Metropolitan Police said: "The fires are being treated as suspicious and a joint investigation is being led between the Met and the London Fire Brigade.

"There have been no reports of injuries on any of the scenes. At this early stage there have been no arrests."

Read more: Two arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with Crooked House pub blaze

Eight fire engines and 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Windmill, in St James's Road, where the second floor and the roof of the building were destroyed. The roof collapsed.

Firefighters used a 32 metre turntable ladder to tackle the blaze.

Six fire engines and about 40 firefighters battled the blaze at the Drum and Monkey, in Gloucester Road, where the first and second floors were destroyed in a fire.

Nobody was injured and firefighters are investigating both blazes. St James Road was closed in the incident.

Footage posted online by Kris Rybak caught columns of smoke billowing from both buildings, showing just how close the two sites are.

Firefighters tackled a blaze at the Windmill in Croydon
Firefighters tackled a blaze at the Windmill in Croydon. Picture: London Fire Brigade
Firefighters responded to the blaze at the Drum and Monkey
Firefighters responded to the blaze at the Drum and Monkey. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Both pubs were up for sale, with the Windmill listed for £1.5m in 2021 and the Drum and Monkey up for £650,000.

The Windmill has had a recent history of break-ins as people try to party inside.

Paul Jeffery, interim head of listing at Historic England, tweeted: "Another fire in a disused pub. One of two fires this morning in Croydon, apparently starting within minutes of each other and located a short distance apart."

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing in the blazes but the damage will be keenly felt by followers of the Crooked House saga.

A fire ripped through the slanted pub which was gutted by a fire and then demolished. It has led to calls for it to be rebuilt brick by brick.

Two people were arrested over the fire at the pub in Himley, Staffordshire.

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