Detectives quiz woman over flat fire

Investigation underway into suspicious fire which gutted flat next to night club

DETECTIVES are tonight quizzing a 22-year-old woman over a fire which destroyed the top floor of a nightclub owner's flat.

The blaze ripped through a third floor flat adjoining Jokers Bar in Stowmarket this afternoon, leaving the manager and his son homeless.

Police arrested a 22-year-old woman on suspicion of arson just off the scene of the drama in Ipswich Street.

She is being questioned at Bury St Edmunds Police Station in connection with the incident, which gutted two bedrooms, a bathroom and the roof space.

The blaze broke out around 2.30pm with 30 firefighters successfully preventing it spreading to the adjoining night club or to the two floors below, one of which was part of the flat involved.

Mark Naylor, 47, the manager at Jokers Bar, who lives in the flat with his son, had to be given oxygen therapy after rushing into the building on hearing what had happened.

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His son Jason Naylor, 20, who has lived in the flat with his dad for the last five years, was left numb by the incident.

“I just had a call from my dad saying the house has burnt down and I got here as quickly as I could,” he said. “I really do not know anything about it. I was around my girlfriend's at Stonham Aspall. My dad had been out all day as well.

“I am still in shock to be honest. I had two pet lizards (which were on the top floor) and they are still alive.

“I went up there thinking they were going to be toast.”

Mr Naylor, who DJs in the night club on Saturdays, said precious photographs of his mother, who died from cancer, were amongst items which had gone up in flames. The pair of bearded dragon lizards, in a glass box, was one of only a few things which remarkably survived.

He added they he been advised it would be at least a month before they could move back in and was making arrangements to stay with their neighbours last night before they figured out what to do.

The building was cordoned off by police tape yesterday afternoon as scene of crime officers began their investigations.

Fire crews from the Stowmarket, along with another from Elmswell, Debenham and Ipswich attended, together with the turn table ladder from Bury St Edmunds.

Martyn Thorpe, a group manager at Suffolk Fire and Rescue, said from the scene: “The fire was extinguished using two hose reels, six breathing apparatus and a turntable ladder.

“The police are investigating the fire as it is believed to be suspicious and the fire service is assisting with their fire investigation.”

He said the roof space, as well as the third floor containing two bedrooms, was also severely damaged.