residents fear arson attacks at new flats
A SERIES of deliberate fires took place at a luxury apartment block in Stevenage to the distress of residents. The incidents happened at Monument Court in Woolners Way on Friday at 9pm, 11.30pm and shortly before midnight. Two of the fires took place in a
A SERIES of deliberate fires took place at a luxury apartment block in Stevenage to the distress of residents.
The incidents happened at Monument Court in Woolners Way on Friday at 9pm, 11.30pm and shortly before midnight.
Two of the fires took place in a stairwell and the other was started in a bin store and residents at the ICE development are now concerned for their safety.
A resident who did not wish to be named claims the fires were started by people living in the complex.
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He said: "These people are being given somewhere brand new to live but because of their stupidity and immaturity they are putting lives at risk while someone who would treat it with respect is still on the housing waiting list.
"We are also concerned that there aren't any smoke detectors in the communal areas."
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Mark Finlayson who lives in an apartment with his partner and eight-month-old son helped to put a fire out on Friday with a fire extinguisher.
He said: "The people doing this need to be evicted. It's causing us distress and we're now looking to move out. If they carry on doing this they will harm someone."
Although firefighters put the blazes out, they had to return the following morning with a fire investigation dog.
A Herts Fire spokesman said: "We can confirm we have had deliberate fires over the weekend at Monument Court and we are currently carrying out a full investigation.
"Arson is extremely dangerous. It puts lives and property at risk and costs the county around £17million a year. It is a criminal offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
"While our crews are dealing with arson incidents they are diverted away from other emergencies and community safety work. Our message is simple - we will not tolerate arson in Hertfordshire and we will continue to work with our partners to stamp it out."
Neighbourhood Team Inspector for Stevenage, Richard Liversidge, said: "This was mindless arson in a residential area, and there could have been serious consequences if the fire had spread and taken hold.
"It is unthinkable that someone could think it is acceptable to deliberately set fire to something and put people's lives in danger.
"We are investigating these incidents closely with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. I would urge anyone who believes they saw anything or believes they know who was responsible to contact police on the non-emergency number 0845 3300222 as soon as possible."
Julia Coulton, regional housing director for William Sutton Homes which manages the apartments rented out to social housing tenants, said: "We are working closely with both the fire service and the police to investigate this incident and will be keeping residents closely informed. If we find any evidence of anti-social behaviour we will not hesitate to take strong action.