AN arsonist torched a Leeds sheltered housing complex threatening the lives of dozens of sleeping residents.
A dozen flats were evacuated as the blaze engulfed a ground-floor flat in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Police confirmed the fire is being treated as arson.
Thanks to prompt action by firefighters only one person was hospitalised suffering shock and smoke inhalation but others distressed and shocked required treatment at the scene.
A community room in the complex was used to treat casualties.
The alarm was raised shortly after midnight when smoke alarms were triggered at the 54-flat elderly person’s complex at Sir Karl Cohen Square off Town Street in Armley.
Firefighters from Leeds central fire station in Kirkstall Road arrived within minutes.
Back-up crews were called in from Stanningley.
Watch commander Paul Carthy from Kirkstall Road said: “It was a serious fire on the ground floor. Flames were licking out up to the first floor. Some French doors out to some gardens had burnt out and it was licking out up the side of the building.
“One person lived in the flat but quite a few others needed evacuating.”
The flat was occupied by an elderly male.
“He had suffered a great deal of shock initially,” said Watch Commander Carthy. “I think it was shock more than anything else. Quite a few residents were distressed. Four or five were given oxygen therapy by ourelves then by paramedics. One lady was taken to hospital. The rest were treated at the scene by us.
“The occupants of the flats were out by the time we arrived. They were in the community room which we used for casualties. We used the community room as a triage area for assessing injuries.”
Fire crews managed to limit the blaze to the one flat though there was smoke damage elsewhere.
“The flat suffered 100 per cent fire damage - literally. Eveything in the flat was destroyed. Fortunately the crews did a good job and managed to contain it,” he said. “There was slight smoke damage to the rest of the building.”
Police said one man had been arrested in connection with the fire.
An adult female is still being treated in hospital.