Mercy Shawn Mendes
Police have confirmed that a fire at the home of a family of six in Southampton was an arson attack.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's Control Room received a call to reports of a fire on the ground floor of a two storey house in Park Road Freemantle, at 21:40pm on Thursday, 26th April.
A 31-year-old mother and her four children, aged between 2 and 8 and a 29-year-old man, were all trapped upstairs and had to be rescued by firefighters. Police believe the blaze was started deliberately.
It’s thought to have started near the front door and police believe one possibility is that items may have been posted through the letterbox and then set alight.
Fire investigators and police from the Joint Arson Investigation Team have been at the scene gathering evidence.
Officers are investigating the case as arson with intent to endanger life and are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious near the house yesterday evening.
Fire Control Room Operators handled the call from someone at the property and carefully guided the family, who were alerted by their smoke alarm, some in bed asleep when the fire started, through actions to take in order to stay safe and offered reassurance until firefighters arrived.
Control Operator, Jill Horn who answered the 999 call, said: "The caller was in a distressed state when we took the call.
"We remained on the phone with the occupant throughout the incident while crews from St Marys and Redbridge fire stations went to their assistance.
"We advised the caller to ensure doors were shut with any gaps sealed to prevent smoke getting in and advised them to move to a safe part of the house where they were able to open a window and call for help and remain until firefighters arrived."
Control Room Operators remained on the phone with the caller throughout the ordeal keeping them calm and offering reassurance that the firefighters were on their way.
Incident Commander, Station Manager, Mark Raven, said the actions of Control Room Operators undoubtedly helped ensure the safety of the residents. "All of Hampshire's Control Room Operators are highly trained to deal with this kind of situation and full praise must go to them," he said.
"The call was handled with professionalism, and the caller reassured throughout what must have been a terrifying situation."
The family of six were taken to hospital by ambulance as a precaution after breathing in too much smoke.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Western Area CID team at Southampton Central Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.