A FIRE broke out at a derelict pub in Newport on Wednesday.

Five crews and 19 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze, which started in the basement of the Kings Arms Hotel, Commercial Road, Pill, at 5.34pm.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing thick black smoke billowing from the building, but saw no flames.

Sally Wallis, who lives nearby, said: “There was a wall of smoke, one minute it wasn’t there then it was.”

Mrs Wallis said the building had been derelict for around 15 years and was often broken into and used by drug users.

Firefighters from Maindee, Duffryn, Malpas, Cardiff Central and Cwmbran spent around an hour at the scene.

A spokeswoman said rubbish had caught alight in the basement of the building but officers were not investigating further.

Newport planning committee agreed to issue an enforcement notice last year to make the building’s owner clean up the site.

Councillors heard the front of the former hotel was overgrown with weeds and some of the boards covering its windows had been removed.