COUNTY NEWS: Man detained on suspicion of arson after hospice fire

Dozens of people were evacuated from a hospice in St Leonards after a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning (July 11)
Dozens of people were evacuated from a hospice in St Leonards after a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning (July 11)

A man has been detained on suspicion of arson after a fire broke out at a Sussex hospice in the early hours of this morning (July 11).

Emergency services were called to a fire at St Michael’s Hospice, in Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards, at around 1am.

Police are treating the blaze as deliberate.

Police said a 67-year-old man, who is known to the hospice, has been detained on suspicion of arson.

They added a woman, who was a resident at the hospice, has since died but it is not clear whether her death is linked to the fire.

A full investigation into her death is currently underway.

Chief Inspector Paul Phelps, Hastings district commander, said: “This is an extremely difficult time for the residents and staff of St Michael’s Hospice and for the family of the resident who has sadly passed away.

“For the emergency services the initial priority was to contain the fire and ensure the safety of staff and residents within the premises.

“Everyone was evacuated safely. Ten residents were taken to the Conquest Hospital, Hastings, with two treated for smoke inhalation and the others for nursing care.

“The remainder are being looked after in three nursing homes and one resident was able to go home.

“We have detained a man on suspicion arson and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this.”

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