A MURDER probe has been launched following a house blaze which claimed the life of a 44-year-old man.
Police have confirmed that the fire which led to the death of town man Andrew Simon is suspicious and have arrested a 35–year–old man on suspicion of murder.
The suspect is currently in police custody being quizzed by police.
The arrest was made yesterday afternoon after police raided two town properties – one in Rium Terrace, off Raby Road, and the other in Furness Street – as part of the ongoing investigation into the blaze which ripped through a mid-terraced house in nearby Dent Street in the early hours of last Tuesday.
Police officers and scenes of crime experts were seen going in and out of the properties throughout the day.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “Detectives investigating the death of 44-year-old Andrew Simon following a house fire in Dent Street in Hartlepool are treating it as suspicious.
“A 35-year-old man from Hartlepool has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in police custody.
“The fire happened at around 12.50am on the morning of Tuesday, June 11, and police and fire services began an investigation into the blaze, which was initially deemed as unexplained.
“A 40-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life was bailed pending further enquiries.
“Two addresses in Hartlepool have been searched as part of the inquiries, one in Rium Terrace and one in Furness Street.”
Mr Simon died in the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, shortly after the fire. A post mortem examination has been carried out on his body in a bid to establish an exact cause of death.
Three fire engines, two from Stranton Fire Station and one from the Headland, tackled the flames at 12.45am.
Shocked neighbours placed flowers at the doorstep of the house after it was revealed that Mr Simon had died.
Detectives have also renewed their appeal for witnesses to the incident to come forward.
Anyone with any information should contact Hartlepool CID on the non emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on (0800) 555 111.