AN EARLY morning fire which tore through a flat looks like it was started deliberately.
Firefighters were called to the first floor property in Waterworks Road on Sunday morning amid panic among neighbours that there were still people trapped inside.
Thankfully though, it was soon discovered that all the residents had managed to escape, and the crews concentrated on bringing the blaze under control – with no serious injuries reported.
Three pumps, a special hose reel jet and a host of breathing apparatus were used – as was a large fan which was set up to disrupt the growing smoke cloud.
A spokesman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue (ESFR) confirmed, “We got the call 7.30am and believed there could have been people inside. At 7.45am all the people were found to be safe.”
And Sussex Police confirmed the fire was being treated as an arson attack and appealed for anyone with any information or who may have seen anyone acting strangely in the area, to come forward. To help police, call 0845 60 70 999.
A 38-year-old man from Eastbourne was arrested at lunchtime on Sunday and questioned before being released on bail until December 30.
The fire comes in the same week that a leading safety expert issues fresh calls for all new homes to be fitted with sprinkler systems as standard.
And ESFR reiterated its stance that fitting smoke alarms and making sure they had working batteries is vital for any homeowner or landlord.
Elderly residents can also have smoke alarms fitted for free by their local fire crew as part of the services current awareness drive.
To contact ESFR’s home safety team, either pop into its headquarts on Upperton Road, or call 0800 177 7069.