Staff douse fire in beer garden

PUBLISHED: 13:39 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:22 31 May 2010

A FIRE at the Cross Keys pub in Saffron Walden may have been started deliberately, firefighters believe. At about 6.30pm on Saturday, a bin located in the courtyard area at the back of the pub caught fire. The bin was pushed up against a tree, which also

A FIRE at the Cross Keys pub in Saffron Walden may have been started deliberately, firefighters believe.

At about 6.30pm on Saturday, a bin located in the courtyard area at the back of the pub caught fire. The bin was pushed up against a tree, which also caught fire.

Saffron Walden fire station officer Paul Curtis said: "We had a call from the Cross Keys after there were reports of smoke seen at the back of the building.

"The fire alarm had been triggered and the staff were outside. It seems possible that someone may have pushed a bin against a tree and set fire to it, as a deliberate act of vandalism.

"Fortunately there was minimal damage - the fire had not spread to the outbuildings, but the bin and tree were completely destroyed.

"Some staff had managed to douse it using a garden hose, preventing it spreading. If they hadn't been able to act as quickly as they did the situation could have been far worse."

Ken Vincent runs the pub with his wife, licensee Christine Vincent. He said that he had no reason to suspect that the fire had been started deliberately.

Mr Vincent said: "We think someone just put a cigarette end in the garden bin, which then caught fire.

"Nobody can remember if the bin was already up against the tree, so we really don't know if it was moved there by someone trying to start a fire.

"I don't think anyone would have any desire to burn down the pub - I certainly hope not anyway!"

Mr Vincent revealed that he and another member of staff quickly tackled the blaze using two fire extinguishers and a garden hose, potentially preventing a major incident.

A spokesman for Saffron Walden police said that the fire had been reported to them by the fire service, but that there was no investigation under way as there had been no significant damage caused.

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