Man jumps from window to flee blaze

A MAN was forced to jump from a first floor window to escape a fierce blaze which ripped through a row of houses after a suspected arson attack. Crews from across Essex were called to tackle the fire in Colchester but were unable to prevent the flames from totally destroying the mid-terrace property and severely damaging two neighbouring homes.

A MAN was forced to jump from a first floor window to escape a fierce blaze which ripped through a row of houses after a suspected arson attack.

Crews from across Essex were called to tackle the fire in Colchester but were unable to prevent the flames from totally destroying the mid-terrace property and severely damaging two neighbouring homes.

It is not clear at this stage how the blaze was started but yesterday two men were being questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

Firefighters were called just after 11.30pm on Saturday and worked into the night to tackle the blaze at Speedwell Road before it was under control by about 3am.


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When fire crews arrived they found the man who had jumped at the back of the house and pulled him away to safety.

He suffered cuts and bruises and was taken to Colchester General Hospital although it is not thought his condition was life threatening.

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A second man was treated on the scene after he inhaled smoke although he did not need hospital treatment.

A Jack Russell dog was unaccounted for and it is thought the pet probably died in the blaze.

At the scene yesterday the house where the fire started was a smouldering wreck and the roof and upstairs floor of one of the next-door homes was destroyed.

Wtnesses said they were amazed by the extent of the blaze which could be seen from hundreds of metres away.

Elaine Farley, who lives nearby, said: “I know the people who have been burnt out and one of them, Brian, jumped from the window.

“I stood here and there was a very large cloud of white smoke and then sparks and then the flames.

“Afterwards, Clive, the other man, looked like he was in shock and I asked if he was alright and he just looked at me with a blank expression.

“One woman came in here to get away from it and I was taking blankets out there just in case they were needed.

“It is the worst thing I have seen happen here and I have been here for 11 years.”

Gary Pitchford lives across the road from the fire and was woken by his parents and saw the blaze.

The 14-year-old said: “There were loads of fire engines out there and four ambulances and then they got the ladder out and were spraying water onto the roof.”

Dave Taylor, of Essex Fire and Rescue Service, was carrying out investigations at the scene yesterday.

He said: “There is extensive damage and when the fire crews turned up there were flames coming out of the front and back windows and the fire was well established.

“There was one man at the rear of the house who was suffering from what appeared to be cuts, bruises and other injuries and he was brought round to the front of the building.

“The scene is now subject to an investigation, we believe there were three people using the house and two of them were here at the time.”

The water used by crews to tackle the flames added to the damage and yesterday the pipes which burst from the heat were still dripping water onto the shell of the house.

The people in the adjoining homes affected were yesterday staying with friends and family.

Fire crews from Colchester, Wivenhoe, West Mersea, Tiptree and Tollesbury tackled the blaze and there were also two aerial ladder platforms used along with a control unit from fire headquarters in Brentwood.

n Last night, two Colchester men, aged 63 and 32, were being questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

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