A LANDLORD is fighting for his life after a blaze tore through a popular pub.
Firefighters pulled unconscious Peter Watson from the smoke engulfed New Inn, in Durham Street, on Hartlepool’s Headland, after the pub had gone up in flames in the early hours yesterday.
Just moments earlier his wife Christine, who was screaming frantically to try and wake her husband, was helped down to the ground from a first floor window.
Both were in their home above the pub when the blaze ripped through the building at around 12.30am.
Mrs Watson had managed to make it to the window and scream for help but while she was helped to safety, her husband Peter, 57, was unconscious in a smoke-filled room where he is believed to have been for 15 minutes while the fire took hold.
Six firefighters with breathing apparatus managed to pull him from the inferno and he was rushed to hospital where he is said to be in a serious condition.
Neighbours watched on in horror as the thick black smoke and fire billowed from the pub.
One resident, Audrey Skeet, who lives just a few yards from the pub, described the moment she woke up to the sound of smashing glass and the smell of smoke.
The 36-year-old mum-of-three, who is married to Andrew, 38, said: “I could hear glass smashing and I could smell fire and at first I thought it was my house and I thought of the kids.
“Then I realised it was the pub, the smoke was just so thick, it was awful to watch.
“I just hope they are both alright, they are a lovely couple.”
Another resident, who wished not to be named, told how Mrs Watson sat on the window sill screaming for her husband to try and wake him up before firefighters arrived.
Five fire appliances from Stranton, the Headland, Billingham and Stockton all attended to put out the blaze and rescue the couple.
Andy Robinson, watch manager at Stranton Station, said: “The fire started on the ground floor and the bar area was completely destroyed.
“A woman was rescued from the window, she was hanging out of the window when we arrived.
“A man was brought out from the first floor front room unconscious.”
An investigation was launched yesterday to determine exactly how the fire started.
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We got a call at 12.32am reporting a fire in a pub on the Headland.
“Two patients were taken to the University Hospital of North Tees.”