16 need treatment after arson attack

A TERRIFIED mother last night relieved the horror of being trapped on her balcony with her two-year-old daughter for more than two hours as fire raged below them in a block of flats.

A TERRIFIED mother last night relieved the horror of being trapped on her balcony with her two-year-old daughter for more than two hours as fire raged below them in a block of flats.

Arsonists have been blamed for the devastating blaze which left 16 people - including a baby - needing medical treatment following the fire in Newmarket.

And residents last night spoke of how they feared for the life as the smoke became so thick they could not see to flee the building.

Andrea Smith, and her daughter Anais , were trapped in their top floor flat and had no choice but to remain stranded in their balcony as firefighters tackled the blaze on Saturday night.


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“We were both terrified as there are no fire escapes and no one knew what was really happening,” Ms Smith said.

“Thankfully we had a balcony to go out on - otherwise who knows what would have happened. You could smell how toxic the smoke was and I was frightened for my daughter.

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“I knew something was wrong when I thought I could smell some kind of wax substance. The next thing I know I could see black smoke coming through the door.

“At that stage the fire engines had just been called and it could have been even more serious - someone could have been really hurt. It was absolute mayhem.”

Ms Smith and her daughter's ordeal ended when firefighters put out the blaze and were able to escort people to safety from the St Andrew's flats in Icewell Hill.

Resident Susan Richards said: “I was out at the time but when I came back I couldn't believe what damage had been caused.

“Fortunately my flat was not too badly damaged but it was still very distressing and we are all extremely lucky that no one was seriously hurt. The injuries could have been far worse.”

Investigating fire chiefs last night said they believed the blaze was started deliberately after two bags of clothes were set fire to at the base of the flats.

Firefighters were called to St Andrew's flats in Icewell Hill at about 7.45pm on Saturday night.

Seven people suffering from smoke inhalation were taken to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, and later released while another nine were treated at the scene, police confirmed last night.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “We are treating the matter as suspicious and have crimed it as arson.

“The seat of the fire is believed to be two bags of clothes which were left at the base of a flight of stairs adjacent to a lift. This caused extensive smoke to rise and obviously extreme concern to residents inside.”

Anyone with information about the fire should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774100.

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