Man and gerbils rescued from Plymouth flat fire
A MAN and his gerbils were rescued from a house fire in Keyham yesterday.
The property in Fleet Street caught fire at around 11am yesterday and emergency services were called to the scene as smoke bellowed from the upstairs rear bedroom.
The alarm was raised by staff at the Premier corner shop, two doors up from the property, after staff spotted smoke and heard a man, believed to be in his 40s, coughing.
Becky Hoyle, from the Premier corner shop, said: “We realised the house was on fire, we could see the smoke through the door and called the fire brigade.
“We could hear him coughing so we shouted up to him and said help was on the way but he couldn’t answer, he just carried on coughing. It was awful, I think he came in the shop this morning.
“Once they got him out they laid him on the floor then moved him on his side.
“It was mad, one minute there was smoke coming from the window and then it was everywhere.”
Two fire crews from Camels Head, and another fire crew from Crownhill attended the incident, and police were also called.
DI Mike Cooper was on the scene, he said: “The occupant of the house has been taken to Derriford Hospital and we hope his injuries are not serious.
“The cause of the fire is still being investigated. We are keeping an open mind at this stage.”
Two gerbils were also rescued from the house and appeared unharmed.
They were left in the care of police who said they would be contacting the RSPCA.
Nick Jones, a fire investigator from Plympton, said: “Crews were called and on arrival they found a serious fire and rescued a man from the rear bedroom.
“The casualty was taken to Derriford Hospital.”
A cordon was placed around the area while the situation was managed and police community support officers conducted door-to-door enquiries.
Sheila Mitchell, who lives nearby at 28 Fleet Street, said: “I heard fire engines at about 11.15am, looked out of the window saw the fire brigade bash the door in and several fire officers with breathing apparatus entered the house. Smoke was billowing from the ground floor, followed by the upstairs window shortly after.
“From what I saw from my window there were three fire engines, a rapid response ambulance, an ambulance and a police car present.
“This was followed by a doctor and fire investigation officer.”
Christine Vosper, who also lives in the street, who lives at 35 Fleet Street said: “We came out and saw fire engines and smoke, it looked awful. There was a lot of smoke upstairs and there were loads and loads of people outside, watching and helping.”
Donna Mitchell was visiting her grandmother, who also lives on Fleet Street.
Donna said: “We arrived when everyone was there, there were loads of emergency services it was a bit of a shock, especially when you can’t get down the street.”
A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of causing arson with intent to endanger life and was last night being questioned at Charles Cross police station.