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Family rescued from flat after suspected arson attack in Borstal, Rochester

By Katie Nelson

A family were rescued from a fire which is thought to have been started deliberately.

Two crews were sent to the property in Shorts Way, Borstal, Rochester at 7.34pm on Thursday. Police also attended.

The fire was reported to have been contained inside one of the flats on the first floor of the block.

The scene at Shorts Way, Borstal. Picture: Emma Dickinson (7804046)
The scene at Shorts Way, Borstal. Picture: Emma Dickinson (7804046)

Although it was out by the time fire crews arrived, the family inside were rescued, and taken to hospital by paramedics as a precaution for smoke inhalation.

Police confirmed the fire was being treated as suspicious, and that inquiries were ongoing.

A neighbour said: “I’m on the top floor and couldn’t see much.

The property in Shorts Way, Borstal (7815616)
The property in Shorts Way, Borstal (7815616)

“Police and forensic were here. No one could get out as it was full of black smoke.

“I have two children aged two and one and am currently six months pregnant.

“The flat that it happened at has five kids and recently had a newborn baby.

“There was no alert or fire alarm going off in the stairwell.

“Me and my husband only noticed what was wrong when we opened our front door and heard screaming.

“I didn’t evacuate [our home]. We were told to stay inside our flat - only the ground floor and the flat the fire was in was evacuated at about 8pm.”

Another neighbour added: “Some residents were still in their flats.

“Crews went in with breathing apparatus on and two more engines came along with police although one engine left just after arriving which left two engines, police and, I think, the first response car.

“Police remained after the engines had left and was there till late.

“It’s quite scary knowing something like that has happened and seeing all the emergency services. That’s when you know something bad has happened.”

Fire crews left just after 8pm. The cause has not been recorded on the online incident list.

Police spokesman Andy Saunders said: “Kent Police was called at 7.37pm on Thursday to a fire in Shorts Way, Rochester.

“Officers attended along with Kent Fire and Rescue Service and ambulance crews.

“The fire is reported to have been contained to a front door of a property.

“The occupants of the property were taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation and as a precautionary measure.

“The fire is being treated a suspicious and inquiries are ongoing.”

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