Kent Police have stepped up patrols at Samuels Tower in Chatham following two arson attacks
Police have stepped up patrols at a block of flats in Chatham as fires at the property have been confirmed as arson attacks.
Fire crews attended two fires in Samuels Tower, Longhill Avenue, in four days. Police believe both fires were started deliberately.
Martin Parrett in the fire damaged stairwell at Samuels Tower
Eight people were rescued from the tower block last Wednesday after a fire was started in the stairwell of the property.
Fire crews used a height vehicle to pull one person to safety from the six storey building just before 6pm on February 12. Two other people had to be rescued, with a further five, including children, led to safety.
Martin Parrett, 27, was rescued from his top floor flat. He said: "As soon as I got to the window, I saw flames and that's when I called the fire brigade."
Police and fire crews were called out again on Saturday night after a fire was started in the basement of the property.
Samuels Tower, Longhill Avenue, Chatham
Investigating officer, DC Martin Carter of Kent Police, said: "I'd like to reassure the public that we are doing everything in our power to understand what has happened here and to find whoever is responsible. At present we are linking these offences.
"We are putting extra patrols in place around the building" - DC Martin Carter
"Starting a fire deliberately is incredibly irresponsible. Starting a fire deliberately in a residential property is extremely dangerous and puts lives at risk.
"Anybody who does this should be expected to be dealt with by the full force of the law.
"We are putting extra patrols in place around the building and increasing visible police presence, and will continue to work to gather evidence in order to establish the sequence of events leading up to these fires.
"We're keen to hear from anybody with information around these incidents and I'd encourage members of the public to come forward."
Station manager Andy Norris, of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said: “People need to be very clear that arson is a crime and certainly not harmless fun.
"Deliberate fires are destructive and dangerous and have an impact both on the environment and the community in which we all live and work."
- People with information should call DC Carter on 01634 792583. Alternatively, call Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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