An arson probe has been launched and a woman arrested after a blaze left a man in hospital.
Residents have told of their shock after the late-night fire drama in the Throston area of Hartlepool left the man needing hospital treatment.
It was scary, but hopefully nobody has been seriously hurt, because it could have turned out a lot worseSuzanne Hartburn
A woman was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life after the blaze at a house in Wiltshire Way, on Tuesday night.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said wheelie bins had been set alight at about 11.20pm, and the fire spread to a flat.
A 25-year-old woman was arrested, and one man was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton for observation, suffering from the effects of smoke.
The incident caused considerable alarm to neighbours, who feared the blaze may spread to their properties.
One resident, Suzanne Hartburn, said: “It was very frightening, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for those in the house.
“I was lucky in that I only got a cracked window, which has been boarded up.
“It was scary, but hopefully nobody has been seriously hurt, because it could have turned out a lot worse.
“I saw it from my window, and the flames spread very quickly.”
The fire was put out relatively quickly thanks to three fire engines from Stranton Fire Station, who were deployed to the incident.
Investigations are continuing following the arrest.
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I looked out of the window and the bins were on fire.
“That then spread to the doors, and it was scary to see how quickly it had intensified.
“I feared that it might spread to my house at one stage, but luckily the fire brigade managed to put it out pretty fast.”
After the incident, those in the upstairs and downstairs flats affected by the blaze were evacuated, with their homes left badly damaged.
Another neighbour said: “The first I heard about it was when I woke up the next morning, and there was a police van there.
“I didn’t hear anything before that, but from what I’ve been told, it was quite bad.
“I just hope that no one was hurt.”