Police launch arson probe after Hartlepool house gutted in blaze
Police are treating a fire in a Hartlepool house as a suspected arson.
A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after the blaze in Mountbatten Close this morning.
He remains in police custody.
Emergency services attended the scene of the blaze, with fire officers confirming that no one was injured.
Neighbours described seeing people fleeing from the house as the fire spread.
Police were among the emergency services at the scene, and officers are treating the fire as arson.
A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: "We were called to a report of a house fire at 7.57am at Mountbatten Close in Hartlepool.
"We are now treating the fire as suspected arson.
"A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and currently remains in custody."
Three fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze, with no occupants inside the building when they arrived.
A spokesman for Cleveland Fire Brigade said: "We were called out at 7.51am this morning to a house fire in Mountbatten Close, Hartlepool.
"We sent three appliances: two from Hartlepool and one from the Headland.
"All people were accounted for.
"We used four breathing apparatus and two hose reels to fight the fire.
"It is under investigation."
One resident of the street, who did not wish to be named, described seeing people flee the home.
She said: "At about 8am this morning, I was woken up by my dog barking.
"I got up and heard people shouting outside.
"I looked out of the bedroom window and saw that my neighbours were running out of the house with their children.
"I saw smoke coming out of the roof of the house which was on fire.
"I called the emergency services and didn't know if anybody was still in the house at that time.
"While I was on the phone, the fire brigade turned up, and the ambulance shortly after 8am.
"There were two police cars, three fire engines, one paramedic car and one ambulance."
A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service said: "We were called to a report of a house fire in Mountbatten Close, Hartlepool, at 7.54am today.
"We sent five resources, but there were no casualties transported to hospital."