POLICE have arrested a man for endangering life after four people – including a young child – were forced to jump out of a window from a burning Gosport flat.
Desperate screams were heard coming from a first floor flat in Jervis Drive around midnight as a four year old girl, a woman in her 50s and a man and woman in their 20s were rescued by neighbours.
All four were believed to have suffered smoke inhalation with the four year old taken to Queen Alexander Hospital as a precaution after residents helped them climb down from the four metre high window.
And now police are investigating an allegation of arson with intent to endanger life – with a 28-year-old man from Gosport arrested.
Other residents in the block self-evacuated, though some remained inside their flats until the fire was put out.
By the time Gosport fire crew had turned up five minutes after receiving the call, the blaze was out. Along with crews from Fareham and Porchester, they tackled smoke that was pouring out of the block.
The flat suffered smoke damage while blood was also seen at the site.
A joint police and fire investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway with forensic teams with sniffer dogs attending the scene this morning.
Gosport watch manager Sean Ratcliffe said: ‘A neighbour tackled the fire which was out by the time we turned up. There was a lot of smoke in the flat which we tackled. Two of the people were taken to hospital with suspected smoke inhalation.’
Officers are appealing for witnesses who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the hours before and around the time of the fire.
Anyone with information should contact 101 quoting reference 44180400893 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.