A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire ripped through a ground-floor flat.
Firefighters from across Portsmouth were called to the blaze at a block of flats on Goldsmith Avenue, in Southsea, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Police said the 21-year-old man, from Portsmouth, had also been arrested on suspicion causing criminal damage.
He remained in police custody last night.
Six fire engines spent nearly two hours at the scene after the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 1.30am.
One resident, a 35-year-old who did not want to be named, said: ‘I didn’t hear any alarms in the morning but I popped out to check something with my car before I took the kids to school.
‘I saw the cordon and I was immediately worried for the people who live in the flat.
‘The windows and front door were both very black.
‘I’m very pleased to hear no one was hurt. I often talk to the other people here and everybody is always really nice.’
Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told of how they were evacuated when the fire broke out.
They said: ‘I was woken up by a knock at the door, very early in the morning.
‘It was the police, telling me that I had to get out because a fire had broken out.
‘At the time I had no idea what was going on, because everything happened so quickly.
‘It was only when I saw it online that I found out what had happened.
‘Nothing like this has ever happened before, that I have experienced at least.
‘I’ve lived here 10 years and to think that something like this could happen is quite scary.
‘To be honest, I am still a bit shaken up over what has happened.’
Another resident said: ‘I wasn’t evacuated, but woke up to all the fire engines outside.
‘I just don’t understand why something like this would happen.
‘I know someone’s been arrested because of it, but I don’t know who it is.
Police had taped off access to the flat and a police car was at the property during the morning.
A spokesman from Southsea fire station said: ‘We were called to a ground floor fire at Outlook tower block at around 1.30am.
‘It was a severe fire and the flat was destroyed.
‘Fortunately nobody was in the property.’
Crews from Southsea, Cosham and Havant attended the scene using four breathing apparatus, four main jets and two hose reels.