Neighbours’ fears in Southsea fire drama

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Shocked neighbours have told of their fears after an alleged arson attack that ended with a woman being rescued from a blazing flat in Southsea.

An investigation is continuing to see what caused the fire, after which two people were arrested on suspicion of arson.

The burnt-out flat..''Picture: Ben Fishwick

The burnt-out flat..''Picture: Ben Fishwick

The blaze broke out shortly before 7am yesterday and resulted in firefighters rescuing a woman who was trapped in the flat in Shaftesbury Road, Southsea.

Hampshire Constabulary said a 36-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman – both from Southsea – were arrested shortly after on suspicion of arson.

A spokesman said: ‘We were called to a domestic dispute at an address in Shaftesbury Road shortly after 7am.

‘A woman was shouting from a window and there was black smoke coming out of the building she was in.

‘The road was closed for a short time so the emergency services could put out the fire, which was out at about 8am.

‘No one was seriously hurt.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue group manager Alan Murray said they faced arduous conditions when they went inside with smoke billowing out of a smashed window facing the street.

Once inside crews made their way to a first-floor flat bedroom and rescued the woman.

Another woman and her baby were escorted to safety, along with a man and a woman, who had all been told to stay put before firefighters could help them out safely.

Neighbour Jean Stuart woke to hear commotion in the street.

She said: ‘It was like a massive drama.’

Another resident on the street, Karen Cloake, said: ‘I was up and about and heard shouting from outside then I saw her looking out of the window and then it looked like she was trying break the metal pole to lean out of the window.’

‘I then heard the fire brigade come but didn’t see much as it was blocking my window.’

Ama Omorda who was asleep with his wife and baby when the fire started in his building said: ‘These things happen so I wasn’t frightened. When I woke the fire brigade were coming through the building.’

Hampshire police said it is investigating the cause of the fire and is appealing for witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote crime reference number 44150110370.