POLICE investigating a fire which devastated a country pub are now treating it as arson.

The blaze, which killed a family pet, broke out in the Nag’s Head Inn, on the B5130 between Holt and Isycoed, at 11.15pm last Thursday.

Firefighters from Wrexham rescued two dogs from the burning building.

One-year-old Jack Russell puppy Jack survived the ordeal and is now being cared for by vets.

But two-year-old Jack Russell, Lucy, died later from the affects of smoke inhalation.

It is understood the pub’s previous tenants moved out on March 20 and new owners were due to take over last Friday.

Police cordoned off the building on Friday and were treating it as a crime scene.

A first-floor bedroom was heavily damaged by fire and two other bedrooms were damaged by fire and smoke.

There was also smoke damage to the first floor area and the ground floor.

Over the weekend police and the fire service carried out a joint investigation into the blaze.

A police spokesman said: “The investigation into the fire is continuing and we now believe the fire was started deliberately.

“We appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity of the Nag’s Head Inn in Ridley Wood, Wrexham, on Thursday night, March 24, and who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the vicinity to contact officers at Wrexham CID.”

Pub manager Mick Rogers told the Leader the disappearance of the previous tenants remains a mystery and his job also hangs in the balance.

“I turned up for my shift on Monday morning and the place was empty,” he said.

“I informed the brewery and the chef and I set about cleaning the place up for the new owners.

“To the best of my knowledge they are still going to take over the pub.”

Chester-based Admiral Taverns, which leases the pub, were unavailable for comment yesterday.

Anyone with information should call North Wales Police on 101.