MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE
AMMANFORD police yesterday (Wednesday) revealed that the fire which swept through Salem's Angel Inn was started deliberately,
Detective Inspector Harry Rees said: “Inquiries reveal that approximately £300 in money has been stolen from the premises and a fire started deliberately inside.
“ We are particularly anxious to speak to anyone, who may have been travelling through the village of Salem at about 4.45 am on Tuesday morning.
The Angel first hit the headlines a year ago when former licensee Mrs Beverley Anne Scollon died following a frenzied knife attack by a mentally-ill employee.
This week's fire, which was reported by Salem residents shortly before 5 am on Tuesday, happened while the owner was away on holiday,
Ammanford fire brigade spokesman Valdis Freimanis said four firemen were sent into the Angel, wearing breathing apparatus, following initial reports that the pub was occupied.
It was only when the key-holder was located 20 minutes later that fire fighters realised the building was empty.
“The roof and first floor were gutted by the blaze,” Sub Officer Freimanis told the Guardian.
“And there was severe smoke and water damage to the building.
“It took us more than an hour to bring the fire under control because the nearest hydrant was more than 600 meters away.
“It was only when a third appliance arrived on the scene that we had enough hose to reach the the hydrant.”
Sub Officer Freimanis said the heat was intense in the early stages of the fire that much of the water from the brigade's hose-reels turned to steam before it reached the flames.
“It was a very dangerous operation at times,” he added, “particularly for the men who had to search the building in the early stages of the fire.
“They had to dodge falling slates and burning roof timbers.
“Believe me, that tests a man's nerve.”
Eyewitness John Reeves, of Hen Berllan, Salem, said the Angel was shrouded in smoke when he woke up early on Tuesday morning.
“I have never seen so many firemen and policemen in one place before,” he said.
“The police brought their helicopter in as well, to scour the surrounding countryside – presumably for clues.