Two people arrested on suspicion of arson following major fire in Bury St Edmunds
PUBLISHED: 19:11 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:29 30 September 2017
Two people have been arrested in connection with the major fire on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds.
Fire appliances from across much of Suffolk and parts of Norfolk have been tackling the blaze, which began at the Cycle King shop, which was destroyed, while two historic neighbouring premises were smoke damaged – but the fire crews managed to prevent it from devastating any other buildings.
A total of 15 fire crews were at the scene – including the fire service turntable ladder.
A police spokesman said: “Two men aged 22 and 23 have subsequently been arrested on suspicion of arson.
“Both were taken to hospital to receive treatment for smoke inhalation, where one of them remains.
“The other has now been brought to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning. No one else is believed to have been harmed as a result of the fire.”
Angel Hill remains closed to traffic and is expected to reopen either partially or fully by Monday morning, as fire crews remain on scene to dampen down the site. However, it will be open to pedestrians.
The fire broke out in a store room behind the Cycle King shop – which backs on to the Abbey Gardens – and firefighters battled to prevent the flames from spreading.
No one was seriously hurt in the fire although two people were treated for smoke inhalation.
It is understood that two people are being questioned by the police investigating the possibility that the fire could have been started deliberately.
As well as tackling the fire in the cycle shop, firefighters also succeeded in saving other buildings. The shop is right next door to the One Bull, one of the town’s best-known pubs.
The pub owners said no-one had been hurt but tweeted: “we can confirm that we will be closed until further notice.”
The One Bull is 600 years old and one of the market town’s oldest pubs.
Firefighters working inside Cycle King appeared to have contained the blaze and prevented the flames spreading, although it was understood to still be burning fiercely.
On the other side of the cycle shop is a three-storey property.
Teams are expected to remain at the scene all night and Angel Hill was closed to traffic and diversions were set up. The area may remain closed to traffic over the weekend as investigations into the fire get under way.
Jamie Blyth, who watched the drama unfold, said: “You could hear cracking and popping of rubber – tyres presumably, as police extended the cordon to Abbeygate Street and Churchgate Street.
“It was surreal hearing and watching the emergency services converging on the scene. . . they were on site incredibly quickly and dousing the buildings from above.
“It all appeared seamless – almost like an exercise. Commendable, calm control in devastating circumstances. Sad, sad stuff.”
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Area Commander Ken Williamson said: “We were called at 5pm this evening to a report of a commercial property well alight with people reportedly in the building.
“While two people are being treated for smoke inhalation, everyone is now accounted for. Fire crews have been fighting the fire and stopping it from spreading for several hours and are likely to continue doing so into the night.
“At this stage we do not know the cause of the fire, but will be conducting an investigation.”
Crews attending were two from Bury St Edmunds, and two from Ipswich East, plus Elmswell, Long Melford, Wickhambrook, Ixworth, Newmarket, Mildenhall, Thetford, Attleborough, Stowmarket, Clare, Haverhill, and Brandon.
A police spokesman thanked members of the public for respecting the work of the emergency services and keeping their distance from the fire.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Suffolk Constabulary on 101, quoting reference CAD 332 of September 29.