Woman rescued from burning building

AN investigation has been launched following a suspected arson which left a woman trapped in her flat.

James Hore

AN investigation has been launched following a suspected arson which left a woman trapped in her flat.

Fire crews were called to a blaze in a communal hallway at Recreation Park House, Military Road in Colchester just after 2pm yesterday.

The 27-year-old resident had attempted to get out of her basement flat but was beaten back by the smoke from the hallway.

She went back inside before being led to safety by firefighters and was then treated for smoke inhalation.

Initially two fire engines were sent but because it was suspected someone was inside, a third was sent.

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Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used one hose reel to put out the fire by 2.40pm.

The cause is thought to be suspicious and a joint police and fire service investigation is being carried out.

Police and community support officers spent the rest of the afternoon knocking on doors in the surrounding area in a bid to find witnesses to the incident.

Pete Holding, Colchester fire station officer, said: “We found a basement with an external staircase with smoke coming out of a basement door leading to a communal hallway.

“The woman had attempted to come out, but on seeing the smoke was frightened and stayed inside her flat until we arrived.

“We popped a ladder down into the basement area and brought her out to safety.

“She wasn't hurt but was suffering mild smoke inhalation and was checked over by paramedics at the scene.”

Two crews from Colchester and one from Wivenhoe attended.

Anyone with information about the blaze is asked to call Essex Police on 0300 333 4444.

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