FLAMES tore through a derelict Pontypool pub tonight as firefighters battled for hours to salvage some of the building’s remains.

Fire crews were called to the former Masons Arms on Station Road in Griffithstown at 3.33pm, where they found flames on the first and second floor. The fire had also broken through the roof and damaged the adjoining building, where residents said an old betting shop used to be.

Six SWFRS vehicles from Malpas, Cwmbran, New Inn, Aberbargoed, and Cardiff Central were called to the scene, including a large hose ladder using heat recognition cameras.

Station Road was closed for several hours tonight and cars were being diverted up Kemys Street by Gwent Police.

Some houses next to the old Mason Arms were also without electricity for hours as the fire crews attempted to fully extinguish the flames.

Resident Andrew Bynt, who lives directly next door to the detached former pub, said he began smelling burning from his own house before being alerted by his neighbour of the large flames ensuing next door.

The 50-year-old said: “I went out of the house and saw the flames tearing through the building. It began in the middle part of the old pub and then carried on to the building next to it.

“It’s so sad. This used to be a thriving little pub, a great pub, but it closed four or five years ago. I have lived here all my life and it was a very popular pub with bikers in the 70s but there was never any trouble – it’s such a shame that it’s come to this.

“The police have gone in there a few times in the past because of some kids playing around, and I think there was a bit of furniture inside but I don’t know what caused it.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) said there were no people injured but are not yet able to say how it started.

Another resident said the building was entirely boarded up with “four-inch nails” and that “nobody had been in there for years”.