Man charged with murder and arson after fire left one dead in Reading

·1-min read

A man has been charged with murder and arson after a fire which left one person dead in Reading.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at a building in Rowe Court, Grovelands Road, at around 3am on Wednesday.

Hakeem Kigundu, aged 31, formerly of Rowe Court, was charged with one count of murder and one count of arson with intent to endanger life on Friday evening, Thames Valley Police said.

Firefighters at the scene in Grovelands Road, Reading (Marc Ward/PA)
Firefighters at the scene in Grovelands Road, Reading (Marc Ward/PA)

He has been remanded in custody to appear at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.

One person has been confirmed dead following the blaze and two people are still missing.

Four people were treated in hospital while another seven received medical care from ambulance crews at the scene.

Witnesses heard an explosion and some residents were forced to jump from the building to try to escape the fire during the early hours of Wednesday.

Reading fire
The property was gutted by the blaze (Marc Ward/PA)

Others described a woman jumping or falling from an upper floor.

The building was so badly damaged by fire that it has been left unstable.

Those affected are to be provided with “temporary respite accommodation”, the local council said.

Doug Buchanan, from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, told journalists that firefighters rescued one resident with a ladder while another was talked to safety by a call handler.

He said: “Our firefighters were able to rescue one of the residents from the building using a ladder, and our emergency call handlers gave fire survival advice to a resident that led them to safety, getting out of the property.”

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