A WORKINGTON pensioner who returned home to find a "scene of absolute devastation" following a fire in a neighbouring property has praised emergency services.

Police have arrested a 40-year-old on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life following the fire in Harrington.

Four fire engines were deployed to Church Road at around 4pm on Sunday. Crews extinguished a blaze involving the roof space and first floor of a property and one casualty was rescued.

Bernadette Crellin, 80, was terrified to return to her home on Sunday afternoon and be confronted by emergency services and crowds of people surrounding the house adjoining the home of her disabled son.

She lives in the house on the other side of her son, Nicholas, 60.

"My son is autistic and has Type 1 diabetes which is very difficult to control," said Mrs Crellin.

"I had been visiting a friend and returned home to find a scene of absolute devastation.

"All I could see was police, ambulances and fire brigades beside my son's house.

"Half the village was out, it was mayhem."

The road was cordoned off but police let her through.

She could see there had been a fire in the flat above the hairdressers and was terrified it had spread to her son's home.

"It was awful, I thought the worst.

"I was so relieved to discover a neighbour, who cared for Nicholas in the past, had gone into his home with some firefighters and got him out," she said.

They contacted his sister, Lisa Smith, who lives nearby and arrived soon after.

"He had been asleep, oblivious to what was happening," said Mrs Crellin, whose husband died last August.

She was grateful for all the support from the emergency services.

"The police were very good, and the fire brigade," said Mrs Crellin, who spent three weeks in hospital with Covid last year.

"The firefighters went through Nicholas's house with thermal imaging cameras to check it was safe.

"They then put extra smoke detectors in my house and Nicholas's.

"The police were outside all night."

She had left her windows open in the warm summer weather.

"The smell of burning is terrible," she said.

"I've been cleaning outside and will have to do inside too."

Cumbria Police said: “Police were called at around 3:55pm yesterday (July 25) to the report of a fire at a property on Church Road, Harrington.”

“A 40-year-old man from Harrington was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

“Officers are working with Cumbria Fire and Rescue.”