Hunt for man who fled after Portsmouth arson attack

TARGETED An arsonist set light to a flat's door at Roslyn House in Southsea
TARGETED An arsonist set light to a flat's door at Roslyn House in Southsea
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RESIDENTS say they were terrified when the front door of their flat was set on fire in an arson attack.

Police are now hunting a man seen fleeing from the block.

Fire crews were called to Roslyn House in Southsea at 10.35pm Tuesday night after the door of a third-floor flat was set alight.

Neal Stacey, 48, said he was inside with his partner, Jane, when a man came to the door asking for a woman named Paula.

‘I told him he had the wrong address and that he should leave,’ said Mr Stacey.

‘After I shut the door on him he started getting animated and banging against the front door, then I head a crackling noise.

‘All of a sudden flames came through the glass. There was smoke pouring through, so I said “call the fire brigade”.

‘I started chucking water on the flames trying to keep the fire from coming in.’

It’s thought the man set fire to a quilt pushed up against the door.

Jane, 48, who lives in the flat said: ‘I’m traumatised really.

‘I don’t understand why someone would do that. It was terrifying.’

Police are investigating after a man wearing a dark hooded top was seen leaving the scene shortly after the fire started.

‘If the fire had got out of control there is no way the neighbour could have got out,’ added Mr Stacey. ‘Neighbours are scared. It’s really affected the whole block.’

Six fire engines were sent to the flats.

No-one was evacuated but two people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Firefighters used three jets to extinguish the blaze, and a fan to clear the smoke which blackened most of the lobby outside the flats on the third floor.

The fire was out by 11.50pm.

Police have appealed for information and anyone who can help can contact the Eastern Investigation Team at Fratton police station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.