Bury St Edmunds: Police are treating Glastonbury Road fire as arson

The scene of a fire in Glastonbury Road, Bury St Edmunds, on April 13.

The scene of a fire in Glastonbury Road, Bury St Edmunds, on April 13. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

A FIRE at flats in Bury St Edmunds at the weekend - during which seven people escaped - is being treated as arson.

Two people were rescued from a roof and five others were led to safety in Glastonbury Road at about 3.30am on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said the blaze - which is understood to have started in the hallway - was being classed as arson and further investigations are being carried out.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Three fire crews from Bury St Edmunds were mobilised to a flat fire.

“Smoke in the hallway of the flats prevented the occupants from leaving through the main door.

“However, the caller informed the fire control room that they had escaped to the roof at the rear of the two-storey building.

“On arrival, two people were rescued from the roof, and a further five people were led to safety.”

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Speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk, Will Tel, station commander (health and safety), said the severity of the fire caused some smoke to filter into the flats which raised the alarm for some of the occupants which is why they fled to safety on a roof.

The flats are above shops, including a bakery and post office.

Trevor Whitehouse, sub-postmaster at the post office, said: “I turned up for work and saw the mother and daughter on the roof at the back of their flat and at first I didn’t register there was a fire. I didn’t see anything at that stage, just the two ladies on the roof, and then all of a sudden the fire engine turned up.”

He added: “Then it started to unfold and I realised it was a fire with lots of black smoke when they smashed the window to get in.”

Mr Whitehouse said the blaze was “shocking” for all involved.

“It’s just lucky no-one was injured and we didn’t lose our business really.”

Vijay Muthulingam, who runs the Best-one shop under the flats, was led to safety with his partner by the fire brigade.

He described how they knocked on his door and woke him up.

“Luckily we escaped last night,” he said. “They [fire service] did a good job.”

A newsagent, who asked not to be named, could not recall a fire in the area before.

“It’s the sleepiest estate round here I think.”

The occupants were checked over by the ambulance service. Fire crews had the incident under control at 4.18am.

Police had cordoned off the hallway to the flats on Saturday.

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