Man arrested on suspicion of arson after Portsmouth house fire

A policeman at the scene of the fire in Ophir Road, Portsmouth
A policeman at the scene of the fire in Ophir Road, Portsmouth

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A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent following a fire at a North End house.

A police spokesman said a 37-year-old Portsmouth man had been arrested after the fire, which happened just after 4am on Saturday morning in Ophir Road.

The police spokesman said: ‘A man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent.

‘He has been bailed until May 14.’

The fire gutted the front room of the three-storey terraced house and damaged the rest of the building.

The spokesman said: ‘It was well alight when police got there.’

Firefighters from Cosham and Southsea had the blaze out by 5am.

David Ireton, a neighbour, said he was woken up by the noise of emergency vehicles’ sirens.

When he opened his front door he saw one of people who lived in the house sitting nearby, looking dazed.

He said: ‘I came out and saw one guy almost naked, covered in soot, sat on my front wall.

‘I don’t think he was very aware of what was happening. It was mayhem, smoke was billowing out.

‘The police took one of them away.’

Mr Ireton said emergency vehicles were in the road until after 8am.

He said investigators were also looking around house later that day.

‘For the rest of the day we had coming and goings,’ he said.

He said the smoke from the fire came as far as his house.

‘You could certainly smell it,’ he added.

‘It was wafting into the house and made my eyes sting.’

A spokesperson from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said five people who lived in the house were rescued and had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The spokesman said: ‘The crews rescued five people from the property and extinguished the fire.

‘The five people rescued were all suffering from smoke inhalation and handed over to the South Central Ambulance Service.’

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, 
said she was upset about the fire.

She said: ‘I believe it’s pretty much uninhabitable in there now.’

Police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue are jointly investigating the cause of the blaze.