POLICE arrested a man on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life after a fire broke out in a building in Bayford Road, Littlehampton, last night (Tuesday, January 6).
When fire and police officers arrived at the scene at 9.15pm, the man was on roof of the multiple occupancy building and throwing tiles at people in the street and parked cars, police sources said.
Officers retreated and closed Bayford Road. Firefighters and police officers then went into the building to check everyone was safely out of it.
As extra officers arrived, the 49-year-old man climbed down the front of the building and was arrested.
He was taken to Worthing Hospital initially as he had cut himself before going to custody where he remains.
The residents from the building were evacuated.
Sue Dudley, who lives in the street, said she was shocked by the incident.
Speaking hours after the blaze, the 51-year-old systems administrator for Arun District Council’s legal services department, said: “I was sitting watching TV and heard a few bits of banging outside and at first I didn’t take any notice. Being Bayford Road you hear a lot of that going on down here, especially at the weekends when people come out the pubs at night.
“Then we saw the fire engine come down the road. It stopped outside out house and I thought, ‘oh, that’s strange’.
“I went outside to have a look and there was a lot of shouting and a lot of banging and this man was just throwing tiles from the roof at people below. He was hitting cars and it was quite a shock.”
A man suffered a minor graze to stomach after he was hit by a roof tile, police said.
Eleven vehicles parked in the street were damaged by the roof tiles.
Inspector Marc Clothier said: “We are appealing to anyone who has any information about how the fire started or has suffered damage to property as a result of this incident to come forward. The road has re-opened and we will be speaking to residents today to reassure them.”
Contact police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting serial 1344 of 06/01.