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Councillor calls for thorough investigation into ‘co-incidental’ hotel fire

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A PEMBROKESHIRE county councillor has called on the police and fire investigators looking into a hotel fire to leave no stone unturned to find the true cause.

The major blaze broke out at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel in Pembroke Dock over the weekend, with emergency services in attendance from 2.49am on Saturday Morning (Mar 30).

Cllr Joshua Beynon, whose ward area includes the hotel, said that anyone reading the history of the hotel “could rightly ask themselves whether or not this is just one big coincidence.”

His comments come after over a hundred people took to Facebook to say that they thought that the fire was an ‘insurance job’.

There is absolutely no suggestion that there is anything to substantiate these allegations.

Mr David Hancock Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue group manager said: “It is too early to tell at the moment what the cause was.”

“A full investigation will be conducted with police and fire later on with a view to establish what happened”, he added.

The hotel suddenly closed on January 2 last year, with some 40 members of staff losing their jobs. Creditors including Pembrokeshire County Council and HM Revenue & Customs, were owed nearly £130,000 by the Kullar Hotel Group which owned the premises.

Tackling the blaze: Firefighters at The Cleddau Bridge Hotel (Pic: Herald)

Speaking to The Herald, Cllr Joshua Beynon said: “It is a sad moment when a once busy and looked after hotel is first abandoned and then burnt to the ground in the middle of the night. I am extremely interested in making sure that the fire is investigated and if it is found that arson is in fact the cause of the fire, that the perpetrator(s) are brought to justice.”

He added: “The building has a long and complicated history which started when the owners, the Kullar family gave staff a bear 6 days notice at the end of 2017 and did not pay them any redundancy pay or for their notice period, which they are of course legally entitled to.

“The building then was subject to a planning application during the summer of 2018 which was approved to turn the former hotel into a care home. As a residence of Llanion, I have witnessed and had numerous phone-calls about the mess in the grounds of the hotel as over the past few weeks, anything of value has been removed from the hotel as the rooms and building were cleared of assets.

Wants fire probe: Cllr Beynon

“This was clear from the debris in the grounds which was everything from furniture to pots and pans from the kitchen.

“Whilst it would be wrong for me to categorically conclude one way or another what started the fire, anyone reading the history of the hotel could rightly ask themselves whether or not this is just one big coincidence.

“The people of Pembroke Dock are now left with a half burnt building that serves as a sad reminder of its recent history.

“I will be following the investigation closely and I would urge anyone who saw anything in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 30th March to contact the Police.”

How the fire investigation will work

In common with many forensic disciplines, one of the early tasks of fire investigation is often to determine whether or not a crime has been committed. The difficulty of determining whether arson has occurred arises because fire often destroys the key evidence of its origin.

Many fires are caused by defective equipment, such as shorting of faulty electrical circuits. Car fires can be caused by faulty fuel lines, and spontaneous combustion is possible where organic wastes are stored.

A fire investigator looks at the fire remains, and obtains information to reconstruct the sequence of events leading up to the fire.

One of the challenging aspects of fire investigation is the multi-disciplinary basis of the investigator’s job. As fires can be caused by or involve many ignition sources and fuels, fire investigators need to know not only the science of fire behavior, but also to have a working understanding of many different areas of study including construction, electricity, human behavior, and mechanical devices. For example, if there is a gas appliance at the origin of the fire, an investigator should know enough about appliances to either include or exclude it as a possible cause of the fire.

FIRE SERVICE OFFICIAL STATEMENT –

On Saturday, 30/03/2019 at 02:49am, crews from Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Swansea West, Ammanford and Narberth attended a fire at property in Essex Road, Pembroke Dock.

The building in question was empty and was formerly used as a hotel. The fire had affected the ground, first floor and roof space of the building and had damaged approximately half of the buildings structure.

Firefighters contained the fire, to the north and west elevations of the building, before extinguishing the fire using three hose reel jets, two main jets and a ground monitor. An aerial rescue platform and a drone were also deployed to the incident by the Fire Service.

The Fire Service left the incident at 09:53am.

This incident is being investigated by the Police and Fire Service.

Aerial pictures and video were taken by Lee Bowles and used with kind permission

 

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Appeal after woman sexually assaulted on cycle path near Haverfordwest

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POLICE officers in Haverfordwest are appealing for witnesses after a woman was sexually assaulted at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday (May 16).

The woman was walking along the cycle path between Haverfordwest and Tiers Cross when she was approached by a man who threatened and assaulted her, before walking away towards Haverfordwest town.

The male is described as a white male, between 5ft 4 and 5ft 11 tall , normal build with a welsh accent. He has short dark hair, a beard and a moustache, brown eyes, and wearing light blue jeans, navy/dark blue jersey with grey sleeves. Anyone who saw a man matching this description in the area between 3.30pm and 5pm in the afternoon.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested and is currently in police custody.

The cycle path is currently closed while the investigation continues.

Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler, who is leading the investigation, said “Incidents of this nature are extremely rare in the Dyfed-Powys area. The public may see an increased presence of police officers in the coming days as police investigate the incident. Anyone with concerns or information that could help our enquiries can speak to those officers or contact police. While a man was quickly arrested we would still like to speak to anyone who saw a man matching the above description in the area yesterday afternoon.”

Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked to contact police. This can be done online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet endorses STEP Fusion application

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Cabinet have today endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) to further progress the nomination of a Pembrokeshire site to host a Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station in the county.

Working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the proposed site is adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the South Shore of the Haven waterway.

If approved, the facility will initially host research with the ultimate aim of developing this technology which could offer a virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “I am pleased my Cabinet colleagues endorsed this important programme of work. The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years. It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county – and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It’s very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

•       STEP is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant;
•       It is a UKAEA programme, currently with £222m funding from the UK Government to produce a concept design by 2024: https://step.ukaea.uk/

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Re-opening of indoor hospitality and attractions at Milford Waterfront

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RESTAURANTS and indoor visitor attractions in Milford Waterfront are welcoming the return of indoor services from today.

The re-opening of indoor dining allows all restaurants at Milford Waterfront to seat customers indoors. As well as all restaurants on the Waterfront now being able to offer this service, the brand-new Foam Domes overlooking the Milford Haven Waterway are able to open, with bookings being taken from the 19th May.

Indoor visitor attractions are also allowed to re-open. This includes the Waterfront Gallery, which is open today and Phoenix Bowl & Pirate Pete’s Adventure Play which is making preparations to open from Wednesday 19th May. Also, Milford Museum, which has had a new rendered exterior finish, is preparing to open for the end of May.

Lucy Wonnacott, Marketing Manager for Milford Waterfront commented: “We are delighted to see the re-opening of indoor hospitality and visitor attractions here at Milford Waterfront. Each business has their own safety and social distancing measures in place and we kindly ask that you respect and adhere to these for your own safety, and that of others. We hope you enjoy your visit to Milford Waterfront and stay safe!”

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