A fire at a Kettering pub early this morning is being treated as an arson attack, police have confirmed.
A passer-by called the emergency services at about 6.20am after spotting smoke billowing out of the Wayfarers pub in London Road.
Police and fire officers are investigating the cause of the blaze, which tackled by three fire engines from Kettering and Wellingborough and 20 firefighters.
It began in the ground floor of the pub, which was damaged by the fire, and upstairs was left smoke-logged.
Officers initially said they were keeping an open mind as to the cause of the fire, but this lunchtime they confirmed it is being treated as an arson attack. They were unable to confirm whether they were investigating reports of a burglary at the same time as the fire.
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “The incident is being treated as arson. We would appeal to any members of the public who saw suspicious activity near the scene in London Road to get in touch with us.”
At the scene of the fire this morning, Fire Investigation Officer Kelvin Hallen said: “When we arrived the building was fully smoke-logged with the fire downstairs.
“Our job was to put out the fire and search the building. Thankfully there was nobody in the pub at the time of the fire.
“We are not yet sure of the cause but we are holding a combined investigation with the police.
“We would always keep an open mind during our investigation.
“At present we are treating the pub as the scene of a crime.”
The road was closed in both directions following the fire but has now reopened.
Anyone who has information for the police should call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.