Woman trapped after 'arson attack' at Plymouth flat
POLICE are appealing for information after the front door of a flat was set alight causing a neighbour to be trapped in her home.
The incident, which is being treated as a suspected arson attack by police, took place at an address in Estover on Saturday night.
Residents told The Herald a man was seen running away from the flat in Wythburn Gardens, Estover, shortly before the fire was spotted late on Saturday night. A neighbour said she looked out of her window some time after 10pm and saw a man running across the lawn away from number 71.
She said: "I saw it happen and I'm worried they will come after me."
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Crownhill fire station watch manager Dave Marsh said the fire was potentially very serious.
His crew had just dealt with a small incident about a quarter of a mile away when the alarm call came in.
"It could have been a tragedy. It was fortunate we were able to get there so quickly.
"The fire was really starting to take hold and could have set the whole building on fire."
Another neighbour raised the alarm. The woman – who asked not to be named – said she heard a beep and looked out to see smoke and flames. She said there had been problems in the area with people being threatened.
Another resident, who lives nearby and also asked not to be named, said a woman whose front door shares a porch with number 71 had been trapped by the fire and had been forced to climb through the window.
She said: "Plymouth Community Homes will have to do something. Lives are now at risk. "I didn't sleep all night because of the worry and the shock."
Neighbours said the resident at number 71 was a man called Matthew. They said he had not been seen since an attack on his property about two weeks ago.
Two fire appliances from Crownhill and Camels Head went to the fire. On arrival crews got to work with two breathing apparatus and one hose reel jet. Crews administered oxygen therapy to one elderly female of an adjacent flat. The cause of the fire is believed to be malicious. Police and the local council attended.
Crews extinguished the fire that was situated in the entrance lobby. The lobby was severely damaged by fire, and adjacent flats by smoke. Crews used positive pressure ventilation to clear the smoke.
Police said they were treating the fire as arson and are keen for anyone who has information to call them on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting crime reference number EL/12/2409.
A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson.