Police are treating a fire which destroyed a derelict pub as arson.
About 50 firefighters worked through the night to battle the blaze at the Park House pub, in Pilsley Road, Danesmoor, on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Derbyshire police said: “We believe it was started deliberately.”
Speaking at the scene, Gary Platts, of Derbyshire fire service, said: “This was one of the most serious building fires we’ve seen.
“Thankfully nobody was inside – if there was they probably would have died.
“The pub has been completely destroyed – it’s a sorry sight.”
He praised the efforts of fire crews who managed to contain the spread of the flames.
Villagers told of their devastation after their much-loved former pub – which closed 12 months ago and is believed to have been due to reopen – was destroyed.
Harvey James-Gretton said: “It’s shocking – I can’t believe this has happened.
“It was my local – I used to love going to the Park House.”
Martin Wood added: “It was the perfect pub – it always had a wonderful atmosphere and great food and drink.”
Ian Palmer said: “It was one of the best village pubs in Derbyshire.
“This is a great shame.”
Karl Davies-Debell, who lives opposite the pub, added: “When the windows blew we feared for our home and neighbours. Thank goodness the fire service came so quickly.” The blaze broke out at about 2.45am and forced the closure of Pilsley Road for several hours.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.