A girl aged just 11 has been arrested by police as part of a probe into a suspected arson attack on Kettering’s Ise Lodge estate.
Seven properties were damaged and residents were evacuated after the blaze in Slim Close yesterday (Tuesday) which spread into gardens and roofs of buildings nearby.
Five fire engines from Burton Latimer, Kettering and Corby raced to the scene just before 4.45pm, with smoke visible across the town.
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This morning Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said an investigation had found the fire was most likely started deliberately.
And a Northamptonshire Police spokesman has confirmed that an 11-year-old girl has been arrested on suspicion of arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered as part of the investigation. She has since been released on police bail pending further investigation.
The spokesman said: “Members of the Kettering Neighbourhood Policing Team will be carrying out additional patrols in the area and will be providing extra reassurance and are happy to speak with local residents about issues of concern in their community.”
Witnesses, or anyone with information or CCTV or dash-cam footage, should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 quoting reference number 22000446591, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Initial 999 reports had said two sheds and a fence were on fire but it rapidly spread to properties nearby.
Police set up a 100m cordon and helped evacuate those in houses. Thankfully nobody was injured in the incident.
Jayne Robinson, who lives nearby, came home from a trip to the shops and could smell smoke.
She banged on the door of the nearby St John’s Road Co-op who then called 999 to report the fire.
She said: “I am thankful that I came back in time.”
One Co-op worker said: “I heard a loud bang on the door and she screamed ‘there’s a fire, call the fire brigade’.
"We took the decision to evacuate and police said it was the right decision.”
A Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Crews went to work to try and contain the spread of the fire, with four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackling the flames, and with three hose reel jets and two 45mm jets being used to douse the flames.
“By about 6.30pm the fire was under control with firefighters starting to damp down the scene and requesting the attendance of a fire investigator and fire dog to begin examining the potential cause of the fire.
“By 9pm the fire investigation concluded and indicated that the most probable cause was as a result of a deliberate ignition and is now the subject of a Northamptonshire Police investigation.
“Seven properties overall sustained damage during the blaze, which was attended by five fire engines overall. Remaining crews took thermal readings later into the night before leaving the scene at 11.32pm.”