Arson fear after blaze hits Rugby's Imperial Hotel - The Rugby Observer

Arson fear after blaze hits Rugby's Imperial Hotel

Rugby Editorial 9th Oct, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

AN ARSON investigation has been launched following a fire at a town hotel.

Firefighters were called to The Imperial Hotel in Oxford Street at around 10.30pm on Sunday (October 5) to tackle a blaze at the rear of the building.

Four engines were sent to the scene and firefighters worked through the night to bring the flames under control.

Several of the hotel’s 23 rooms are let out on a monthly basis, but it is not known exactly how many are currently being rented, and if any tenants were in the building when the fire started.

But no casualties were reported.

Police have confirmed they are treating the incident as arson and have launched an investigation.

The Imp, as it is known, was also a popular pub, but closed around three years ago.

Plans to demolish the building and replace it with flats were withdrawn by the owner in March, after being told by Rugby Borough Council’s planning department it should be kept as a pub unless it could be proved it was financially impossible.

News of the fire quickly spread across social media.

Sam Bolderston said: “It was a big one. It started at the back and swept through like wild fire.

“There wasn’t a lot inside it – it was mainly just a shell as they had been clearing it out for months.”

John Stephen Potter added the extent of the damage did not bode well for the future of the building.

But Steven Wright of the campaign group set up to save the Imp disagreed: “The place needed a complete refurbishment – now it’ll have to get one.

“It’s still a good solid building of great merit and potential.”

Others praised the community spirit on display, as Oxford Street residents offered shelter to families forced to evacuate homes near The Imp.

The hotel’s owner could not be contacted as The Observer went to press.

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