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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Mum and toddler flee Cumbrian home after arson attack

A mother and her two-year-old daughter were lucky to escape with their lives after an arson attack on their home in the middle of the night.

Wastwater Avenue house fire photo
The scene of the fire

The 34-year-old woman and her child were woken just after 4am today by smoke alarms in their three-bedroom semi-detached home in Wastwater Avenue, Workington. The woman clambered out of a ground floor window with her child.

They were taken to the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven with suspected smoke inhalation.

Police say they are treating the blaze as “a particularly serious” arson attack.

Within hours of the fire, two women were arrested on suspicion of committing arson with intent to endanger life.

The suspects – aged 26 and 35, and both from the Workington area – are in custody at Workington police station and were due to be questioned by officers today. The fire was started at the front door of the property.

Police and fire investigators have been at the scene hunting for clues. Senior officers have issued an urgent appeal for witnesses.

Inspector Chris Wright, at Cumbria Police HQ in Penrith, said: “We want witnesses to come forward as a matter or urgency. This kind of incident would clearly cause a lot of distress for anyone.

“The woman and her child were taken to hospital for a check-up and later released.

“Fire scene investigators are at the scene now. The house was filled with smoke but fortunately there was not much physical damage to the property as the fire was caught before it became too bad.”

Workington Fire Station crew manager Gordon Bosward said that two fire crews were sent to the scene, while a third was mobilised but not needed. Two fire-fighters in breathing apparatus went into the house and ventilated the property.

Mr Bosward confirmed that the mother had escaped from the smoke-logged house with her child before firefighters from the town’s red watch fire crew had arrived.

Anybody who can help the police investigation should phone non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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