Neighbour describes hearing 'sound of an explosion' after suspected arson attack in Hemel Hempstead

Hertfordshire Police have made an arrest

Monday, 26th April 2021, 5:09 pm

A neighbour has described hearing the 'sound of an explosion' after a suspected arson attack at a flat in Hemel Hempstead, which also left five vehicles damaged.

Officers were called to Octagon House in Nash Green, shortly after 4.10am on Saturday, April 24.

It was reported that the fire service was dealing with a fire inside a flat and that five vehicles had also been damaged.

Neighbour describes hearing 'sound of an explosion'

Eye-witness Naila said: "I woke up to the sound of an explosion at around 4am, I think it was the glass exploding.

"I looked out my window and could see the building, which is a house turned into flats, on fire.

"I called my family and we went outside to see if we could help.

"The fire service was already there and I was told that fortunately no one was inside the building at the time.

Officers were called to Octagon House in Nash Green

"The ceiling did collapse when the fire service were trying to put the fire out. It took a few hours for the fire to be completely out.

"A few hours after, one of the cars exploded, and another two cars had been completely destroyed."

Five fire engines, from Hemel Hempstead, Watford, Garston and Kings Langley, from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were sent to the scene where they found a bungalow and two cars well alight.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue said: "Firefighters tackled the fire and searched the property for occupants, all of whom were accounted for safely.

"The fire was extinguished by 5.15am, however it had caused significant damage to the property and a building inspector was called to advise on the safety of the scene.

"The fire is believed to have been started deliberately so crews secured the scene and our fire investigation team are supporting the police with their investigation."

Police are investigating the incident and one man has been arrested in connection with the incident and is currently in police custody.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Police said: "We aren’t looking for anyone else in connection with the incident, but anyone with information is still of course encouraged to come forward, as it all helps to build the case."

Detective Inspector Adele Hopkin said: “Thankfully no one was hurt during the incident, but it could easily have been a very different story.

"However, significant damage has been caused and has left the occupants of two further properties displaced from their homes while the structure of the building is assessed.

“We continue to work alongside the fire service to establish the circumstances around how the fire started, but we are currently treating it as an isolated incident.

“As part of our enquiries, we are appealing for anyone with information to please come forward. Did you witness anyone acting suspiciously in the area during the early hours?

"Did you see any vehicles leaving the area around the time of the fire? Any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, could assist us.”

You can report information online, or call 101, quoting crime reference 41/29688/21.

Alternatively, you can stay anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form.