Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has welcomed a six year prison sentence handed to an arsonist who set fire to a restaurant.
"Not only did this incident have the potential to completely destroy the restaurant, which would have a devastating impact on the owner, it also put the lives of the public at risk as well as the firefighters who went to tackle the blaze."
Station Manager Carl Mason
Mark Bruce, aged 26 and of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life and was sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on July 17.
Firefighters were called to the blaze at Yummy Yummy, on Bridge Street, in the early hours of December 1 2013. The fire was started in the basement of the Newcastle eatery and caused damage to the electric and gas meters in the building.
Station Manager Carl Mason said: "We welcome this sentence and believe that it reflects the severity of the damage caused by this deliberate fire. We worked closely with Staffordshire Police throughout the investigation and feel that the six-year sentence given to Mark Bruce sends out a clear warning to other people – this criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
"Not only did this incident have the potential to completely destroy the restaurant, which would have a devastating impact on the owner, it also put the lives of the public at risk as well as the firefighters who went to tackle the blaze. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the police to tackle deliberate fire setting and make our communities the safest places to be."
DC Louise Willshaw, investigating officer, added: "We welcome the sentence handed to Bruce for what was a very serious offence. His actions could have easily resulted in the death or serious injury of others was it not for the quick actions of occupants in raising the alarm and getting everyone out of the building.
"Following the prompt actions of our colleagues from the fire service who were able to extinguish the fire, we carried out a thorough investigation into the incident, gathering evidence which led us to arrest Bruce. This result should act as deterrent to others, setting fire to a building, especially when it endangers others’ lives, is a very serious matter and you will be brought to justice."