Ipswich: Man quizzed after flat is gutted in fire

POLICE are today continuing to question a man on suspicion of arson after a fire gutted an Ipswich flat, which was part of a housing scheme for people with mental health problems.

More than 30 firefighters helped to tackle the blaze when it broke out in London Road shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

Eight people who were living in the building had to be re-homed for the night and neighbours’ homes were also evacuated as a precaution.

The fire took about 20 minutes to extinguish but firefighters remained on scene until about 4am yesterday as a precaution.

One neighbour said: “You could see smoke coming out of the top of the building but I don’t think the people who lived there were there.

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“They (firefighters) were there for a long time.”

Forensic experts could be seen in the street yesterday and a full-scale investigation has now been launched to determine what started the blaze.

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Area commander Carl Francis, of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The room was consumed almost entirely by fire. The fire was brought under control very quickly but we then had to investigate the fire spread.”

The London Road building is managed by Stepping Stones East, which offers support and accommodation to vulnerable people.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “Staff involved have been up all night and are obviously immensely tired, but really pleased that no-one was hurt and that all are safe and well.

“The directors have praised staff and tenants highly for the way the situation was managed and are grateful for the help and support of the fire service.”

n Have you been a victim of a house or flat fire? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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