Eleven people are evacuated in suspected arson attack
A 21-year-old woman has been arrested after a suspected arson attack that destroyed a housing block in St Austell, leading to the evacuation of 11 people.
The woman was in custody at Newquay Police station yesterday after being taken to Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, with what were described as "self-harm" injuries.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight yesterday and destroyed the Stonham Housing Association block on Eastbourne Road.
In total, 11 people were evacuated from the two-storey building by firefighters and the council and association were last night trying to find suitable temporary accommodation.
FREE Home staging included with your 1% Commission!View details
1% Commission FREE Home staging advice http://www.kerbappealz.co.uk
Terms: Home staging advice given on instruction to sell your property
Contact: 01736 332076
Valid until: Saturday, December 14 2013
Firefighters from St Austell, Mevagissey, Fowey, St Dennis and Lostwithiel, all attended and discovered a rear first-floor bedroom was well alight and the flames had spread up into the roof.
Four firefighters wearing breathing equipment used two jet hoses on the blaze, as well as an aerial ladder frame from Truro, which they set up in the road.
Firefighters continued to tackle the blaze past 3am, with an investigation under way by 9.30am.
St Austell firefighter Keith Coles, said yesterday: "It was quite severe in the one bedroom, where the fire was fully developed.
"It had broken into the roof area and the first floor was heavily smoke-logged.
"It took about half an hour to extinguish, which is quite a severe fire.
"The residents were evacuated to the car park and I think the Red Cross was there."
In total there are 12 people living in the building, although one was away at the time of the incident.
Sarah Moss, client services manager at Home Group, the parent company of the Stonham Housing Association, said efforts had been made to rehouse them.
She said that any permanent decision on rehousing the residents would be delayed until the full scale of the damage to the building had been assessed.
She said: "We have been working with providers in the area to find temporary accommodation for the residents.
She added that some were staying with friends and family, while others would be housed by the association.
A spokeswoman from the Red Cross said the organisation would have responded with its fire emergency support service, in a specially adapted vehicle, designed specifically to help in such situations.
Following the incident, Eastborne Road was closed while officers carried out an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
The 21-year-old was taken to hospital and later arrested.
Anyone with information should call police quoting crime reference GA/13/2657.