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Man charged after fire in Square Hill Road, Maidstone

A man is due in court accused of setting his home on fire.

Firefighters were called to Square Hill Road, Maidstone, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The house in Square Hill was on fire in the early hours of Thursday morning
The house in Square Hill was on fire in the early hours of Thursday morning

Two fire engines attended and crews rescued a man from the building before handing him over to paramedics for smoke inhalation treatment.

Witnesses reported hearing a huge bang as a window smashed and saw a small number of neighbours, including a mother carrying a young child, fleeing from their nearby homes.

The building is a house of multiple occupancy, which accommodates up to five people.

During the incident there were four people living in the property, which was evacuated along with The Square, a block of flats next door.

One resident, Simon Barker, said he heard a loud bang and glass smashing.

Shattered glass covers the pathway to the building
Shattered glass covers the pathway to the building

The 46-year-old said: "We saw a few bits, we were evacuated out of the building and there was a bang and people running about.

"The windows blew out and glass smashed everywhere.

"An ambulance turned up but nobody was taken in then and then two people were carried out by police.

"I don't know what has happened to the actual house but the way the flames were going up I can't see how anyone can be living there now."

Ray Wood of Square Hill Road, Maidstone was arrested and later charged with arson and assaulting an emergency worker.

Smoke could be seen billowing out of the building in Square Hill
Smoke could be seen billowing out of the building in Square Hill

The 25-year-old was remanded in custody and will appear by video link before Medway Magistrates’ Court today.

The property is owned by Maidstone Borough Council. A spokeswoman said: "There were no injuries to the residents of the premises and everyone got out of the building safely during the fire.

"We are currently working with our partners to make the building safe."

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