UPDATED: Man arrested on suspicion of arson after 'deadly' fires lead to Westcliff flats being evacuated

Fire crews inspect the damage following last night's fire under flats in London Road, Westcliff

Fire crews inspect the damage following last night's fire under flats in London Road, Westcliff

First published in Local News
Last updated

A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of arson following two fires in Westcliff last night.

A joint police and fire investigation was been launched after a two blocks of flats were evacuated following separate fires in London Road.

Fire crews were called to Socata House, a block of 16 flats in London Road, Westcliff, shortly before 11pm on Sunday night following reports of a fire in the car port under the properties.

The fire, involving a number of vehicles and damaged gas supplies, was extinguished by 11.40pm.

Two crews from Southend and one from Leigh attended the blaze, which led to a 70-year-old man being treated by ambulance staff for shock.

Southend crews attended a further fire involving gas supplies on the same road at 4am on Monday morning.

Crews reported a rubbish fire set by a gas meter in the service road behind the Tesco Express store in London Road.

Around 30 people from 15 flats above the store had to be evacuated as crews extinguished the blaze and waited for the gas board to attend the scene.

A 26-year-old man, of no fixed address, was arrested in Westcliff at 5am this morning and remains in custody.

Assitant divisional officer Martyn Hodder, Southend Station commander, said: "This appears to have been a deliberate attempt to damage a gas main, it was directly under the stairs which are the only means of escape for a block of 15 flats and could have had deadly consequences had our crews nit got on top of it as quickly as they did.

"The burning traffic cones created a huge amount of thick black smoke and the propane cylinder could have exploded at any moment causing a great deal of damage.

"This seems to have been a very serious attempt to cause havoc and crews did a fantastic job tackling the fire and getting everyone safely out of their flats."

Investigators from both the fire and police services will now try to establish the cause of the blazes.

Comments (13)

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10:05am Mon 18 Aug 14

sesibollox says...

This is exactly why "car ports" a cheaper alternative to a garage are always going to be fraught with danger
This is exactly why "car ports" a cheaper alternative to a garage are always going to be fraught with danger sesibollox
  • Score: -6

11:31am Mon 18 Aug 14

Batesmotel says...

Is this is arson, I hope they find the scumbags. This is awfully close to Argosy Toys, and if that had gone, not only would we have lost a Westcliff institution of 70 years, but I would have been out of a job!
Is this is arson, I hope they find the scumbags. This is awfully close to Argosy Toys, and if that had gone, not only would we have lost a Westcliff institution of 70 years, but I would have been out of a job! Batesmotel
  • Score: -3

11:48am Mon 18 Aug 14

whateverhappened says...

sesibollox wrote:
This is exactly why "car ports" a cheaper alternative to a garage are always going to be fraught with danger
nothing to do with carports,, more to do with the loons walking our streets today.
[quote][p][bold]sesibollox[/bold] wrote: This is exactly why "car ports" a cheaper alternative to a garage are always going to be fraught with danger[/p][/quote]nothing to do with carports,, more to do with the loons walking our streets today. whateverhappened
  • Score: 28

12:26pm Mon 18 Aug 14

heavenly says...

The second fire was actually 8 flats and about 18 people evacuated. Im grateful to all the emergency services who helped my family and i in our hour of need. However, the scumbag who set the fire needs a long stay at Her Majesty's pleasure.
The second fire was actually 8 flats and about 18 people evacuated. Im grateful to all the emergency services who helped my family and i in our hour of need. However, the scumbag who set the fire needs a long stay at Her Majesty's pleasure. heavenly
  • Score: 15

1:13pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Robin Reliant says...

26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.
26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 7

1:40pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Cockle says...

Arson should be reclassified as attempted murder in cases where anyone is put at danger.....
Arson should be reclassified as attempted murder in cases where anyone is put at danger..... Cockle
  • Score: 18

2:07pm Mon 18 Aug 14

ThisYear says...

Robin Reliant wrote:
26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.
What do you suggest? Culling?
[quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: 26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.[/p][/quote]What do you suggest? Culling? ThisYear
  • Score: 3

3:07pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Robin Reliant says...

ThisYear wrote:
Robin Reliant wrote:
26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.
What do you suggest? Culling?
What an idiot you are.
[quote][p][bold]ThisYear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: 26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.[/p][/quote]What do you suggest? Culling?[/p][/quote]What an idiot you are. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 6

3:57pm Mon 18 Aug 14

pendulum says...

The hobo has done more damage than his life is worth. Shoot him.
The hobo has done more damage than his life is worth. Shoot him. pendulum
  • Score: 5

5:08pm Mon 18 Aug 14

_Lotus_ says...

Cockle wrote:
Arson should be reclassified as attempted murder in cases where anyone is put at danger.....
It can carry a penalty of life imprisonment if the arson is committed with the intent to endanger life (ie knowing there are people in the dwelling at the time).

It is a despicable crime and one which should carry a big sentence without fail.
[quote][p][bold]Cockle[/bold] wrote: Arson should be reclassified as attempted murder in cases where anyone is put at danger.....[/p][/quote]It can carry a penalty of life imprisonment if the arson is committed with the intent to endanger life (ie knowing there are people in the dwelling at the time). It is a despicable crime and one which should carry a big sentence without fail. _Lotus_
  • Score: 5

7:35pm Mon 18 Aug 14

roger moore says...

sounds like a scene from Emmerdale or Coronation Street.
sounds like a scene from Emmerdale or Coronation Street. roger moore
  • Score: 1

10:36pm Mon 18 Aug 14

ThisYear says...

Robin Reliant wrote:
ThisYear wrote:
Robin Reliant wrote:
26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.
What do you suggest? Culling?
What an idiot you are.
Then perhaps you can expand on your rather vague "clean things up"
[quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ThisYear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: 26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.[/p][/quote]What do you suggest? Culling?[/p][/quote]What an idiot you are.[/p][/quote]Then perhaps you can expand on your rather vague "clean things up" ThisYear
  • Score: -1

12:37pm Tue 19 Aug 14

kyprman says...

ThisYear wrote:
Robin Reliant wrote:
ThisYear wrote:
Robin Reliant wrote: 26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.
What do you suggest? Culling?
What an idiot you are.
Then perhaps you can expand on your rather vague "clean things up"
I'd also like clarification please. What exactly do you think needs "cleaning up"?
[quote][p][bold]ThisYear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ThisYear[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: 26 year old of no fixed abode, sounds like one of the many down and out drunken beggars that hang around the area, about time something was done to clean things up.[/p][/quote]What do you suggest? Culling?[/p][/quote]What an idiot you are.[/p][/quote]Then perhaps you can expand on your rather vague "clean things up"[/p][/quote]I'd also like clarification please. What exactly do you think needs "cleaning up"? kyprman
  • Score: 0

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