A MAN was seen fleeing the scene of a flat set on fire in an arson attack.
Hampshire police said the man, who was wearing a dark coloured hooded top, was seen leaving Roslyn House, Elm Grove, last night just after the fire started.
The front door was set on fire trapping two people inside their home and firefighters had to battle through the fire to rescue them.
Now police have said it was a targeted attack and a forensic examination is being carried out.
Fire crews were called to the address after a fire broke out in a third-floor lobby last night.
When firefighters arrived, shortly after 10.35pm, smoke from the blaze had spread down to the ground floor and filled the lobby.
A man and a woman were inside the third-floor flat and firefighters had to tackle the flames before helping them out of the building.
Watch Manager Ian Jeffery, from Southsea fire station, said the pair called 999 and explained the fire had started outside their front door, trapping them inside.
He said: ‘Our teams extinguished the fire and inside the flat were two residents. They were escorted out to safety and then given to paramedics.
‘The front door did its job and held the fire and smoke back so they were safe inside the flat.
‘We are not sure at the moment what was on fire. It is possible chance it could be arson.
‘It looked like something had been placed outside the flat, a bag or something like that.
‘At this point, we can’t rule out the fire being suspicious.’
The residents were checked at the scene by paramedics but they did not need to go to hospital.
Police are also investigating the incident, which has caused smoke damage to the lobby.
Three fire engines were sent from the Southsea station, as well as two from Cosham and a control unit from Portchester.
Fire crews left the scene around two hours after the fire was put out.
A police spokeswoman said: ‘Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or can help identify who is responsible should contact the Eastern Investigation Team at Fratton police station on 101.
‘Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.’