A 54-year-old man has been charged following an investigation into a fire at the Royal Exchange Hotel in Marrickville late on Monday night.
The man was arrested at a unit on Albermarle Street in Newtown about 8:30 this morning.
About 11:50pm on Monday police and Fire and Rescue NSW arrived on scene at the Royal Exchange Hotel to find the building's stairwell ablaze.
About 20 people, pub staff and patrons and two residents, were in the building when the fire broke out. All people were evacuated, with those on the upper floor at the time having to escape the smoke through windows onto the awning.
Sadly, the hotel cat, Whiskey, did not make it out alive.
Firefighters contained the blaze, however, the building sustained extensive damage mostly from smoke and water.
Inner West Police Area Commander Sam Crisafulli told media on Tuesday the fire was being treated as deliberate and called the suspected attack "brazen and cowardly". He said the fire could have resulted in "catastrophic injuries".
"It was absolutely a dangerous situation. The stairwell was destroyed and that means the few folk that were upstairs had to be evacuated from the awning and down a ladder by Fire and Rescue NSW," he said.
"The potential for loss of human life was very very real in this situation."
A male suspect was seen outside the Royal Exchange Hotel shortly before the fire broke out. Police also seized a number of items from the scene which they are "confident" he brought with him.
The man was refused bail and will appear at Newtown Local Court tomorrow morning.
Have something to say? Send a letter to the editor at: email@example.com
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: