Russell Hartley jailed for Accrington pub arson attack
A man who nearly killed three people by setting fire to a staircase behind a Lancashire pub has been jailed.
Russell Hartley, 47, started the fire in a residential area behind The Calder pub on Blackburn Road in Accrington on 29 October last year.
Three people managed to escape and call the fire service and several others in the pub had to be moved to safety.
Hartley admitted arson recklessly endangering life and was jailed for five years at Burnley Crown Court.
He was arrested after he was seen on CCTV taking cardboard from a nearby bin and going into the flats.
A short time later he was seen leaving before the fire was discovered.
Speaking after the sentencing, Det Sgt Paul Langley said: "This was a callous and reckless act and it is only through good fortune that no-one was seriously injured or killed.
"Hartley deliberately started the fire knowing there was at least one person in the building.
"He had no thought for the consequences of his actions which severely affected both local residents and businesses.
"I am satisfied with the sentence he has been given."