Arson suspected after a fire in a Milton Keynes tower block

A sick arsonist put dozens of people’s lives at risk by deliberately causing a fire inside an 11-storey black of flats.

The blaze was started in a communal cupboard on the ground floor of The Gables in Wolverton in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Gables

The Gables

Eight fire crews sped to the scene as smoke engulfed the flats in the 11 storey block.

Residents were evacuated from the building until around 6am and a rest centre was set up for them by Milton Keynes Council. Nobody was injured in the blaze and the building was fit to be occupied the following day.

One resident said; “I think everybody was terrified it would be another Grenfell disaster. But the firefighters did a brilliant job.

He added: “The biggest danger was the thick smoke, which was seeping into the flats.”

Fire crews at the scene

Fire crews at the scene

Police have now confirmed that the fire in Wolverton is being treated as arson and they have launched an investigation.

They are urging anybody with any information or who witnessed the incident to call 101, quoting reference number 43190196514.

Bucks fire service was called to the tower block at 1.16am.

Two appliances and crews from Great Holm, one from Newport Pagnell, one from Bletchley, one from Broughton, one from Buckingham, one from Mereway, one from Woodstock attended, along with five officers.

Firefighters used two hose reels, four sets of breathing apparatus, a fan, a ladder and a thermal imaging camera.

Milton Keynes Council, which own the block, has now praised the fire service for its efforts.

A council spokesman said: “Thank you to the fire crews from Bucks Fire and Rescue who attended a fire at The Gables, our 11 storey block of flats in Wolverton.

“There were no injuries. We quickly set up a rest centre for residents, and assisted one person who needed alternate overnight accommodation. We will follow up with residents and offer help as needed.”

This week Wolverton residents were fuming that an arsonist was responsible.

One said: “There are 59 flats in that block and probably more than 100 people living there. They would have been asleep when the blaze broke out. The thought that somebody from our community can put all those lives at risk is horrifying to say the least.”

A Bucks fire spokesman said: "On arrival, firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property very quickly to control and extinguish the fire. Simultaneously, a controlled evacuation took place and a full search of the premises was carried by fire crews to confirm that everyone was accounted for.

"The early attendance of the Emergency Planning Officer and the Red Cross Emergency Support Team helped residents return to their flats as quickly as possible. Firefighters assisted in the repatriation, escorting residents on scene back to their properties and giving further assurance and safety advice."