Two men wearing masks from the horror film Scream walked into a Knottingley pub and doused it with a flammable liquid before setting it on fire in front of customers.
The men walked into the Bay Horse pub, Hill Top, at around 8.45pm on Tuesday.
Customers and staff who were in the pub managed to escape but the building has been gutted.
Fire crews from Pontefract, Castleford, Normanton and Featherstone all attended the scene and detectives are now appealing for information to help track down the arsonists.
One of the men was described as being 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build and wearing a black jacket or hooded top with black tracksuit bottoms.
The other suspect is described as being around 5ft 10ins tall.
Det Insp Viv Segerius-Allick, of Wakefield District CID, said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who has witnessed this incident or who has information about who may be responsible. They have caused significant damage to this public house and put a number of lives at risk.
“We understand that people may have mobile footage of the aftermath of this incident and we would urge them to provide this to us to assist detectives in their ongoing enquiries.
“I would stress that incidents of this nature are extremely rare and we are treating the matter very seriously. We understand that this arson attack will cause some concern in the wider community and our neighbourhood teams will be carrying out increased reassurance patrols in the area over the coming days.”
Anyone with any information should contact Wakefield CID on 101.