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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Two arrests after blaze at block of flats in west Cumbria

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire which trapped a mother and daughter in a town centre flat.

The terrified women, aged 46 and 19, were rescued by firefighters from the top-floor flat at Birley Court, Whitehaven, as a fire blazed in the flat beneath theirs on Wednesday night.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious and have arrested two men from Whitehaven, aged 30 and 35, on suspicion of arson with the intent to endanger lives.

The older man has been bailed until October 19 and the younger is currently in hospital, waiting to be questioned by police.

Residents told how they grabbed a ladder to try to climb up the window where the women were, to reassure them that help was on its way – but they were beaten back by flames.

Firefighters got into the smoke-filled building and rescued the pair, bringing them out through a communal stairway.
After the women were rescued they were treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to the West Cumberland Hospital as a precaution.

Firefighters spent the day in the area yesterday providing home safety advise to residents and fitting smoke alarms, if needed, free of charge.

Police are now urging witnesses to come forward by calling the force on 101 and asking for West CID or calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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