First-floor flat damaged in a 'suspicious' blaze in Plymouth
POLICE and fire officers are investigating a blaze thought to have been started deliberately which severely damaged a flat in Efford.
Three fire crews from Crownhill and Camels Head were called to the blaze at a first-floor flat at Blandford Road at about 5am yesterday.Police officers were also called to the scene.
Many of the building's windows were smashed during the fire and several burnt-out mattresses were removed from the property after the blaze had been calmed.
A resident living in the flat below, who did not wish to be named, said: "I was up watching a film when it happened. Smoke started coming through my ceiling and I heard a window smash. I knew the man who lived in the flat was out but I thought his dog may still be in there so I rushed up to get him, but he wasn't there.
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"It was quite frightening and the firemen took a good two hours to tackle it. We could even feel the heat coming through into the flat.
"I think we had a lucky escape and I'm glad my flat didn't go up in flames, too."
Devon and Cornwall Police said they were investigating after the fire service confirmed they believe the blaze was started deliberately.
A spokesman for the force said: "The fire brigade requested assistance from the police at around 5.24am because, from their initial examination, they thought it could be suspicious due to the circumstances.
"It is understood there was noise in the vicinity, possibly glass smashing, at around 2am, which could be related.
"We are urging anyone who recalls hearing or seeing anything suspicious around that time to contact us."
The spokesperson confirmed that crime officers and fire investigators will be carrying out a joint investigation into the cause of the fire.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting log number 64 of February 4.