Fire services who tackled a fire at a former pub with historic links to Newport ‘s Chartist movement on Friday believe it was started deliberately.
Crew members from Aberbargoed, Risca, Cwmbran, Malpas, Maindee and Duffryn all attended the fire which broke out at the former Welsh Oak pub in Pontymister at around 5.30pm on Friday.
Video footage, above, shows smoke billowing from the building as fire services tackle the blaze, which took more than an hour to extinguish, while photos show the devastating damage done.
The Welsh Oak ceased trading in 2017 and is notable for being the final meeting spot for Chartists John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones before the Newport Rising.
On November 3, 1839 the trio met at the Welsh Oak and are believed to have spent the night there before marching on the Westgate Hotel in Newport the following day.
Almost 10,000 Chartist sympathisers marched on the city on November 4, 1839, with around 22 estimated to have been killed.
Planning permission was submitted in February for the former pub to be converted into housing.
However, this was rejected by Caerphilly County Borough Council in June on the grounds that the proposal would be “to the detriment of visual amenity” in the area, as well noise concerns from the nearby Risca Road and an inadequate parking layout.
A statement from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “At approximately 5.37pm on Friday, August 7, we received reports of a fire at a property on Risca Road, Rogerstone.
“Crews from Aberbargoed, Risca, Cwmbran, Malpas, Maindee and Dyffryn attended the scene and extinguished the fire.
The incident concluded at 6.50pm. The suspected cause is believed to be deliberate.”
A spokesperson for Gwent Police said: “We received a report of a fire at the former Welsh Oak Inn in Risca Road, Risca, on Friday, August 7, shortly before 6pm.
“The fire is believed to have been started deliberately and enquiries are ongoing.
“Anyone with any information is asked to call us on 101 quoting reference 2000284751 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”