Pub destroyed in suspicious blaze

By Ted JeoryA PUB landlord has told how he has lost his livelihood after it was destroyed in a suspicious fire.Grahame Sams has been running the Coach and Horses pub in Clacton for two years, but saw the business go up in flames in a late-night blaze.

By Ted Jeory

A PUB landlord has told how he has lost his livelihood after it was destroyed in a suspicious fire.

Grahame Sams has been running the Coach and Horses pub in Clacton for two years, but saw the business go up in flames in a late-night blaze.

Mr Sams, 43, said: “It was karaoke night and the customers were all having a laugh. I closed the pub at the usual time, took the dogs inside and went to sleep.


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“Then just a bit later the dogs started barking, I woke up and there was smoke everywhere. I just got out of the pub straight away.

“There were people everywhere and the fire was going off. It's a chain pub and it's been on the market, but I own everything inside.”

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Mr Sams said he had been the victim of numerous threats during his time at the Old Road pub, adding his girlfriend and her three children had fortunately not been on the premises when the fire broke out on Sunday night.

“We've been struggling to keep the place going and with all the trouble I've been wanting to just get back to having a normal life again. Now my livelihood has gone,” he said.

The fire broke out at about 11.40pm and a number of homes were evacuated while firefighters from Clacton, Weeley and Frinton tackled the flames.

Although fire crews brought the blaze under control within an hour, the entire roof and first floor of the pub were destroyed and there was also extensive damage to the ground floor. The building remained unstable and was being inspected yesterday by a structural engineer.

Station Officer David Warwick, of Clacton fire station, said: “By the time we arrived the flames were engulfing the first floor. It was one of the more spectacular ones.”

A joint fire and police investigation is under way into the blaze. An Essex Police spokesman said they were treating the cause of the fire as “suspicious”.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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