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Woman arrested and charged on suspicion of arson after major fire rips through terraced house in Craylands Lane, Swanscombe

A woman has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life after a major fire at a terraced house in Swanscombe on Sunday afternoon.

Clare Bushby, 42, of Craylands Lane, Swanscombe, appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court and was remanded in custody.

She will appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday, June 21.

Smoke billows from the property in Craylands Lane, Swanscombe.

Smoke billows from the property in Craylands Lane, Swanscombe.

The property in Craylands Lane was believed to be empty at the time of the incident, but around 15 people from the neighbouring Rising Sun pub, along with a further 10 from adjoining houses, were evacuated while firefighters tackled the blaze at around 4pm.

Three fire engines and a height vehicle were used and it took almost two hours to completely extinguish the fire, which destroyed windows, roof tiles and the property’s front door.

Karen Lee, 43, who was on duty at the nearby Swanscombe Leisure Centre at the time, said: “We saw loads of people gathering and at first we thought it was a fight outside the pub.

A fire tore through a terraced house in Craylands Lane, Swanscombe.

A fire tore through a terraced house in Craylands Lane, Swanscombe.

“Then we noticed the smoke from the back of the house, went out and had a look, and the house was on fire."

Although police believed it to be empty, some residents reported seeing a woman escape from the building as it went up in flames.

One man, who did not want to be named, said: “We saw a woman jump out of the bedroom window on the first floor.

A police car was still at the property on Monday.

A police car was still at the property on Monday.

“The fire has done a lot of smoke damage here and to the houses on the other side.”

Neighbours admitted they did not know the woman who had been living in the property but believe she had been there for a few months.

Craylands Lane was left closed until around 7pm and an investigations unit was outside the property on Monday morning.

Workers were also at the property on Monday to board up the front door and windows.

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