Inferno escape: man held

A MAN was being questioned by detectives last night after a blaze ripped through a house with two people trapped inside.One man jumped from a first floor window to escape the inferno at the house in Newmarket and a second man, Ben Berisford, was unconscious when he was rescued from an upstairs bedroom by firefighters.

By Sheena Walshe

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TWO men are lucky to be alive today after flames ripped through a house following a suspected arson attack.

Sources today said that an object is believed to have been thrown through the window of a house in Newmarket before the fire started.

One man jumped through a first floor window and another, 42-year-old Ben Berisford, was rescued by firefighters from an upstairs bedroom in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Firefighters believe that if Mr Berisford had been in the building for even a minute longer it is probable he could have died.

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A 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with the blaze and detectives were today continuing to question him.

Mr Berisford, 42, was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, but was later transferred to a hospital in Hull that specialises in smoke inhalation injuries, where he was said last night to be in a serious, but stable condition.

The fire broke out at the house, which is divided into flats, in Rous Road at about 12.30am yesterday.

Assistant Divisional Officer Mark Steggall of Suffolk Fire Service praised crews for rescuing the men from the terrifying inferno.

He said: "When fire crews arrived there were flames of 10 or 15 feet coming out of the windows.

"They had to rescue by ladder a man from the back of the house and a breathing apparatus team managed to rescue someone from a room above the seat of the fire.

"Without a doubt the man could have lost his life if it had not been for the work of the fire crew.

"The crews worked with great speed and dedication knowing that there was people in the house – they did an absolutely first class job."

The ground floor room of the house has been severely damaged and the rest of the building has also been affected by the smoke and heat.

The owner of the flats, who lives in a house backing on to the building, was also helped to safety by firefighters. It is understood he and the man who jumped from the house – neither of whom have been named by police – were not injured in the incident.