Man arrested for arson at Portsmouth homeless shelter after male engulfed in flames rushed to hospital

A MAN has been arrested for arson with intent to endanger life at a homeless shelter after a man suffered serious burns in a blaze.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 10:12 am
Firefighters in Milton Road tackling a blaze at Hope House. Paramedics, police and crews were called at around 1pm on December 30 in 2019. Picture: Steve Deeks

A 24-year-old man was taken to the major trauma centre at Southampton General Hospital after suffering severe burns following the incident yesterday at 1.09pm at Hope House, Milton Road.

The male was described as being in a serious but stable condition by South Central Ambulance Service.

Police confirmed they have now arrested an individual following the incident. ‘A 27-year-old man from Portsmouth has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life,’ a spokesman said.

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Firefighters were called to Hope House in Milton Road, Portsmouth, on Monday, December 30. Picture: Sarah Standing (301219-3462)

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Man taken to hospital with serious burns after fire at Portsmouth homeless shelt...

Fire crews, ambulance – including a critical care unit – and police swarmed to the location before the road was swiftly closed-off.

Attendees of the homeless shelter told The News a man was on fire. ‘It sounded bad,’ one said.

Meanwhile nearby residents described the carnage as it unfolded. Louie Grech, 30, said: ‘I heard a massive bang and could smell smoke but didn’t think anything of it at first because there’s always trouble there.

Firefighters were called to Hope House in Milton Road, Portsmouth, on Monday, December 30. Picture: Sarah Standing (301219-4126)

‘We came out and saw five fire engines, three ambulances and a critical care unit, as well as police.

‘A man covered-up was carried out and rushed off in the ambulance. It’s hard to say how bad he was.

‘Apparently the room blew-up. There was smoke and flames everywhere.’

Local Jean Smith, 67, said: ‘We were told there was a fire in the building. The road was closed off but we don’t know what caused the fire.’

Other residents who live close to Hope House said it had a troublesome reputation.

A female attendee from the shelter who was found dead in Kingston Park sparked a manslaughter probe in July before the investigation found the death was not suspicious. Victoria Arthur, who attended the shelter, was sentenced to 23 years jail for murder in February 2018.

Crews from Southsea, Cosham and Portchester attended the ground-floor flat fire.

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed one man was rescued from the building.

Hope House, run by Two Saints, is a 32-bedroom supported accommodation block for homeless young people, adults and care leavers.