The bosses of two Wythenshawe pubs which suffered arson attacks within half an hour of each other have thanked locals for their support.
The Firbank in Newall Green and the Black Boy in Baguley were hit by arsonists in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Firbank landlord, Simon Delaney has vowed not to be beaten by the fire-raisers and said the pub will re-open the main lounge of the pub this evening (Thursday).
And in a Facebook post he has thanked the local community for rallying round. He said: “Myself & Rachael would like to thank you all for your overwelming help and support today. The police are continuing with inquiries and studying cctv and other forensic evidence found in and around The Firbank and The Black Boy.
“We all now hope that the persons responsible for this and the Black Boy are found and brought to justice. If any one has any information please contact the police so justice can be done. No one should be allowed to get away with trying to ruin the hard work myself and Rachael and John and Bev and our families have put in to our pubs over the last 20 years.
“This will not stop us continuing to do what we do best, It will only make us all closer, stonger and more determined.
We have already started our refurbishment and transformation into The Firbank Pub & Kitchen and this will continue as planned with a bit of disruption.
“We intend to reopen our main lounge and car park entrance from tomorrow evening. (Thursday) The place may still smell a bit of smoke and the front lounge will be closed for refurbishment but after thinking about this all day and talking to family and friends, I have decided we must be open.We look forward to seeing you all very soon.”
And the Black Boy landlady said her pub on Bowland Road in Baguley would “rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.”
In both attacks at about 3.40am two offenders are believed to have approached the pubs and smashed two separate windows before throwing accelerant inside and lighting it.
A 58 year-old man was sleeping upstairs but managed to escape after three men passing by saw the smoke and came to his aid.
One of them alerted the fire service whilst the other two climbed onto the roof to alert the man inside to the fire, enabling him to escape without injury.
One of the men sustained a broken ankle climbing back down from the roof.
A joint investigation between Greater Manchester Police and the fire service has now been launched and both are appealing for information.
Detective Sergeant Emma Phillips said: “Although we cannot confirm if there is a definite link between the two, given the close proximity of the pubs and the timings of the calls it is a possibility that we are looking into.
“I would like to urge anybody who may have seen anything suspicious in the area around this time to please contact the police.”
Anybody with any information should contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.