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Man arrested on suspicion of arson after Colchester flat fire

PUBLISHED: 11:11 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 07 January 2019

The house could be seen ablaze from neighbouring properties. Picture: AJ ELIZABETH

The house could be seen ablaze from neighbouring properties. Picture: AJ ELIZABETH

Archant

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a serious blaze destroyed a block of flats in Colchester, forcing residents to seek temporary accommodation.

The blaze started on the morning of January 5: Picture: GINA SIMMSThe blaze started on the morning of January 5: Picture: GINA SIMMS

The 34-year-old from Colchester was arrested by Essex police after the fire, which started at around 10am on Saturday, January 5.

He has also been arrested on suspicion of endangering life and has been released on bail until January 28.

The blaze broke out in Attlee Gardens in Golden Noble Hill which led to seven fire crews being called in from across the county.

Firefighters tackled the blaze throughout the day, finally leaving the scene at 4pm. Two crews were deployed from the town along with those from Tiptree, Brightlingsea, Mersea and Clacton.

A further engine with an aerial ladder platform from Chelmsford was requested by the officer in charge so that the fire could be tackled from above.

Alice Nevard, who lives in a neighboring flat, said: “I don’t know the extent of damage as I’ve not been allowed back in.

“I feel heartbroken but happy that we are all safe as things can be replaced, lives can’t.

“Me and my partner were moved to Clacton without food or money, just the clothes off our backs. I’m diabetic and epileptic so this is a real strain, I also have PTSD. I imagine this will exacerbate it.

“We were just told to get out to safety because of the gas which had to be shut off as an emergency, so we sat outside in the freezing cold with nothing for three to four hours.

“Our neighbour’s that weren’t affected were rallying around offering tea and biscuits and blankets.”

An update from Essex Fire Service said that because of the collapse of the roof of the building and severe internal damage, investigators have recorded both accidental and deliberate as possible causes.

A Gofundme page has been set up to raise money for those effected. £270 has been raised of the £600 target.

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