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Man charged with starting flat blaze

PUBLISHED: 13:05 09 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

A MAN has been charged with deliberately starting a fire which gutted a young single mum's Felixstowe flat, the Evening Star reveals today. The resident of another flat in the property in St Andrew's Road was saved by three public-spirited teenagers who woke her up as the blaze tore through the two-storey building.

A MAN has been charged with deliberately starting a fire which gutted a young single mum's Felixstowe flat, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The resident of another flat in the property in St Andrew's Road was saved by three public-spirited teenagers who woke her up as the blaze tore through the two-storey building.

Vincent McCreadie, 39, will appear tomorrow before magistrates sitting at Ipswich, charged with arson at the property.

McCreadie is understood to have an address in Princes Road, Felixstowe.

The charge has been brought following an extensive inquiry by fire and police forensic investigation teams.

Four fire crews attended the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Sunday, May 27, after being alerted by neighbours who saw flames leaping from the downstairs lounge front window of the flats.

Susan Williams and her six-year-old son were not at home and were staying the night with family elsewhere in Felixstowe.

But the owner of the upstairs flat, Audrey Laing, 78, was at home and asleep.

She was awoken at about 2.15am by shouting from 17-year-olds Tavela Kuilembe, Matthew Archibald and Tony Hessey, who had been returning home from a night out when they saw the drama.

They woke neighbours who called the emergency services and shouted outside Mrs Laing's windows to wake her and get her out of the building.

The ground floor of the property was left a charred shell. The lounge and its contents were destroyed and other rooms suffered severe smoke damage.

When fire crews arrived they found the ground floor well alight and officers described it as an "extremely hot and fierce fire which was very well developed" by that stage.

Six officers searched the flat in case anyone was at home and used a water fog pump to extinguish the flames.

Firefighters also used a thermal imaging camera as a back-up to the search and to check for any fire they could not see in walls, floors and ceilings.

The upstairs of the property – built in 1925 as the first purpose-built flats in Felixstowe – suffered some damage to windows and external walls.

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