A WOMAN is being quizzed by police on suspicion of arson after a man died in a house blaze.
The 44-year-old man was inside the house in the town’s Dent Street, when the fire – which police are describing as “unexplained” – broke out.
Three fire engines, two from Stranton Fire Station and one from the Headland, rushed to the terraced house to tackle the flames at 12.45am yesterday.
Crews pulled the man from the burning house and he was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, by ambulance but was later pronounced dead.
Police arrested a 40-year-old woman on suspicion of arson and she was in police custody at Hartlepool Police Station at the time the Mail went to press.
Dent Street was cordoned off with police tape throughout yesterday while police and scenes of crime experts carried out investigations.
Neighbours in the street were left shocked and saddened by the news.
One 66-year-old man, who has lived in Dent Street for over a decade, said: “I got woke up by all the sirens and I couldn’t see outside for all the black smoke.
“The street was just crawling with police and fire brigade and ambulances. They were here all night.”
He added: “I knew of the lad who died. It’s sad. No-one deserves that.”
And another resident, an unnamed woman, said: “I can’t believe it, how awful. You read about these things but when it happens near to where you live, it’s just unbelieveable.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said a joint inquiry between the force and Cleveland Fire Brigade has also been launched to try to establish how the blaze broke out.
A brigade spokesman said: “On arrival, crews were presented with a serious fire situation.
“One casualty was rescued but unfortunately died later in hospital.
“Crews used six breathing apparatus, two hose reels, a thermal image camera and a positive pressure ventilation to tackle the fire and left the scene at 6am.
“The house was severely damaged by fire and heavily smoke damaged.”
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said a fleet of three ambulance vehicles attended the incident.
She said: “We attended the scene of the house fire and took a patient, a man, to hospital.”
Police are urging anyone who has any information about the fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning, to contact officers on the non-emergency number 101.