Arson investigation launched after 'very serious' fire at Leeds student accommodation block
Dozens of students were evacuated from a student accommodation block in Leeds this morning (Saturday) after a fire which police believe was started deliberately.
Police, fire and ambulance services were called to the Austin Hall student accommodation block on Servia Road, near Woodhouse, just after 9am, to a report of a fire.
Firefighters dealt with the fire, which had broken out on the fifth floor of the block.
They also evacuated some residents using breathing masks.
The accommodation was not at full capacity due to it being the summer holidays.
Residents were checked by ambulance staff for smoke inhalation but no-one needed hospital treatment.
Police said it was "very fortunate" that no one was injured.
Road closures were put in place on Servia Road and Woodhouse Lane while the incident was dealt with.
Initial investigations have led police to believe the fire was set deliberately and officers have recorded a crime of arson.
Detective Inspector James Entwistle, of Leeds District CID, said: “We are conducting a number of enquiries today into this clearly very serious fire which we do believe was started deliberately.
“It is very fortunate no-one was injured and that the building was not fully occupied at the time of the fire.
“Officers are working closely with our partners in the fire service to investigate what took place, and we have been informed that residents will need to be housed elsewhere while the building is assessed.
“We do know the fire began on the 5th floor of Austin Hall and I would ask anyone who saw persons behaving suspiciously on that 5th floor corridor between 8.50am and 9am to contact Leeds CID.
“I would also very much like to speak with anyone who saw anyone behaving suspiciously outside the building or leaving it in a hurry just after the fire started to contact us.”
Information can be given to Leeds CID on 101 referencing crime number 13200434799, online at www.westyorkshirepolice.co.uk/101livechat , or anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: A 20-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident on Saturday afternoon in Leeds and is in police custody.
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