Arson hunt launched after house blaze

SPECIALIST crime scene officers were due to scour a devastated fire-hit home in Ipswich today as Suffolk police launched an arson hunt.The officers were examining the semi-detached house in Woodbridge Road which suffered thousands of pounds damage when the blaze broke out.

Peter Edwards

SPECIALIST crime scene officers were due to scour a devastated fire-hit home in Ipswich today as Suffolk police launched an arson hunt.

The officers were examining the semi-detached house in Woodbridge Road which suffered thousands of pounds damage when a blaze broke out at 9.25pm yesterday.

As the search for clues got under way it emerged:

fires broke out on two floors of the property at about the same time

firefighters had feared someone could have been inside as the flames took hold

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neighbours reported suspicious activity in the building in the days prior to the fire

Suffolk police inspector Bruce Gent said officers were today due to go back to the house for a forensics examination.

That police investigation came after fire officers said the blaze, which was extinguished just after 10pm, could have been deliberate.

Neighbours today praised firefighters for their swift action in fighting the blaze.

Julie Warden, 41, who lives a few doors down from the damaged house, said: “The fire damage got through to the back of the house.

“It was a big fire. I could see the smoke billowing out.

“I am full of praise for the firefighters who dealt with it.”

Stephen Cooper, who lives next door to the house, said fumes from the blaze had entered his home.

“They gave me a headache and they have left a bad smell,” he said.

Three fire engines and police attended the scene, where fires had broken out on both the ground and first floor.

A motorist who had stopped at nearby traffic lights noticed smoke coming out of the property and reported it to the emergency services.

Andy Nunn, Assistant Divisional Officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue, said: “We have not been able to speak to anyone to do with it (the property) so initially we had to work on the basis that persons where unaccounted for.”

He added: “The fact that we had multi-seated fires led us to figure it is a probable arson and it is being investigated by the fire investigation officer and the police.”

Neighbours said the 19th Century property, which was on the rental market, had been unoccupied for a week.

One woman, who did not wished to be named, said she awoke at 3am yesterday morning to a light in the house, which she thought was suspicious.

“I thought it was suspicious there was a light on last night and it was the first time since they left about a week ago,” she said.

Police set up a cordon around the road while the fire service dealt with the smoke billowing out of the front windows.

A police car remained at the scene this morning.

Nobody was hurt in the fire but extensive damage was thought to have been caused.

Did you see the blaze? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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