Arson probe as council tenants ordered out of homes at 3.45am

Police are appealing for witnesses after an early morning arson attack saw a blaze 'quickly spread' and residents evacuated. The fire on Meir's Beveridge Close has seen two blocks of council flats taped off and tenants needing alternative accommodation.

Now Staffordshire Police have confirmed the blaze in a courtyard is being treated as deliberate. The alarm was raised at around 3.45am (May 3) with firefighters and cops sent to the scene.

This morning and paramedics were also in the neighbourhood along with staff from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and gas engineers. Footage of the blaze shared with StokeonTrentLive shows huge flames between the flats and homes on Tawney Crescent - as Brookwood Drive was also taped off.

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A cordon remains in place today as an investigation is now underway. It comes as residents have revealed how they were woken to a 'massive bang' and fled the flats as the fire quickly engulfed a shed, guttering, fencing and hedges.

A police spokesman said: "Officers went to Beveridge Close, in Meir, just before 3.45am this morning (May 3) after a fire broke out in the courtyard behind the buildings. The fire quickly spread to nearby properties, prompting emergency services to evacuate those in the area.

"Crews from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service put out the fire just before 6.45am. Thankfully, no-one was injured. Fire investigators later deemed the incident to have been started deliberately. We are keen to speak to people who saw what happened, or those with CCTV or dashcam footage of the area at the time."

Witnesses should call the force on 101 and quote incident number 73 of May 3, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111..

Further updates will appear in our dedicated blog here.

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