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Woman arrested for arson after flat fire leaves victim in specialist burns unit

PUBLISHED: 14:26 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:43 13 May 2019

Forensics and fire investigators are working to establish how the fire started and a 33-year-old woman from Ipswich is being questioned on suspicion of arson. The flat fire at Fitzgerald Court happened in the early hours of May 13 Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Forensics and fire investigators are working to establish how the fire started and a 33-year-old woman from Ipswich is being questioned on suspicion of arson. The flat fire at Fitzgerald Court happened in the early hours of May 13 Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

JAKE FOXFORD

A flat fire which left a woman with serious burns is being treated as arson, police have said.

Fitzgerald Court, Ipswich, where a flat fire left a woman with serious burns. A police car remained at the scene during the morning of May 13 Picture: JAKE FOXFORDFitzgerald Court, Ipswich, where a flat fire left a woman with serious burns. A police car remained at the scene during the morning of May 13 Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Suffolk police say they have arrested another woman, aged 33, on suspicion of arson endangering life after the incident in Fitzgerald Court, Ipswich.

Emergency services received reports of the incident about 3.47am on May 13.

Four firefighters using breathing apparatus worked to save the woman inside, rescuing her with a nine-metre ladder up to her second-floor flat.

The woman was left with serious burns and was initially taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment, before being transferred to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

A handprint on the glass fo one window shows the build-up of smoke in the flat before the occupant was able to push it open Picture: JAKE FOXFORDA handprint on the glass fo one window shows the build-up of smoke in the flat before the occupant was able to push it open Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

At around 8.30am the same morning, officers arrested a 33-year-old woman from Ipswich on suspicion of arson endangering life and she was taken for questioning.

The smoke damage to the flats blackened walls and windows is visible from nearby Kemball Street.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue confirmed that all people were accounted for after the fire and no other members of the public were injured.

One neighbour has reported that the victim's house cat, a two-year-old cream-coloured Ragdoll called Dante, was seen but escaped and is currently missing.

The second floor flat in Fitzgerald Court can be seen with windows pushed open and smoke staining the glass Picture: JAKE FOXFORDThe second floor flat in Fitzgerald Court can be seen with windows pushed open and smoke staining the glass Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Neighbours have reacted with shock at the incident and praised the work of the emergency services in the life-or-death rescue.

Gemma Grace, 30, who lived on the ground floor, said: "I've lived here for the last five years and this must be the second time I've ever seen police in the area, it's so quiet here.

"I've lived in all parts of Ipswich in the last 15 years and everyone here is very quiet, I speak to my next door neighbour and that's about it. We all just pass as we come and go.

Emma Hodgson, who lives close to Fitzgerald Court, said: "I actually went out to see what was going on last night. There was two fire engines outside when I looked.

Fitzgerald Court, Ipswich, where a flat fire left a woman with serious burns. A police car remained at the scene during the morning of May 13 Picture: JAKE FOXFORDFitzgerald Court, Ipswich, where a flat fire left a woman with serious burns. A police car remained at the scene during the morning of May 13 Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

"I saw the firefighters using the ladder and one actually inside the building, I was glad to see they managed to get it out quickly.

"I was worried most about it spreading to other flats.

"I think the police and firefighters on the night were amazing. They are overworked and underpaid and they were so professional it meant that young woman left alive."

Another neighbour living on the same floor as the victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I heard something metal clang against the bannister in the stairwell.

A police officer remains in place near the flat, close to Kemball Street, while Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk fire and Rescue conduct their joint investigation of the incident Picture: JAKE FOXFORDA police officer remains in place near the flat, close to Kemball Street, while Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk fire and Rescue conduct their joint investigation of the incident Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

"That woke me a bit - the next thing I know there's a 'bang! bang! bang!' on the door and a fireman is asking me to evacuate my flat.

"I knew the woman who lived there a little bit, I would look after her cat from time to time but I was told the cat escaped during the fire.

"She lived alone and I think her parents live abroad as well. I do hope she's okay."

One window has a handprint where it was forced open to let smoke escape the flat. All of the windows to the flat have been pushed open.

A joint investigation between Suffolk Fire and Rescue and Suffolk Constabulary is under way and a police presence at the scene remains in place.

It is not known if the incident is being treated as suspicions.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 3.50am this morning with reports of a fire in Kemball Street, Ipswich.

"We sent one ambulance and an ambulance officer.

"One woman was taken to Ipswich Hospital for further treatment."

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact South CID at Landmark House on 101, quoting reference 26748/19 or or email force.control@suffolk.police.uk.

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