South Kensington fire: Man arrested on suspicion of arson as Met Police releases dramatic footage of rescue

Met Police releases dramatic footage of South Kensington fire rescue

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire tore through a five-storey building in South Kensington in the early hours of Friday (March 1). The blaze broke out in flats in a converted terraced house in Emperor's Gate in South Kensington, near Gloucester Road station and the Natural History Museum.

Police Officers worked alongside colleagues from London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service as all the emergency services responded rapidly to the incident. The fire is being treated as suspicious and on Sunday March 3, a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. He remains in custody.

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Seven police officers and six residents suffered smoke inhalation during the incident. All were taken to hospital and have since been discharged. Video footage released by the Met Police shows how officers kicked down the front door to enter the burning building. They then gained access to six flats to rescue those inside.

A fire broke out in Emperor's Gate, South Kensington. Picture: London Fire BrigadeA fire broke out in Emperor's Gate, South Kensington. Picture: London Fire Brigade
A fire broke out in Emperor's Gate, South Kensington. Picture: London Fire Brigade | LFB

The officers are heard shouting "get out, get out, get out" to residents, as they make their way through thick smoke, before gaining access to six flats to rescue those inside.

Another clip from outside in the street shows an officer shouting up to a resident who is trapped on the second floor. He says: “Stay down on the floor and cover the door." Huge flames can also be seen bursting through the building's front door, blocking the entrance and exit.

Superintendent Jill Horsfall, one of the senior officers responsible for policing Kensington & Chelsea, said: “The bravery and professionalism of the Met officers who responded so rapidly to this terrifying fire shows the very best of policing. They acted without hesitation to rapidly enter a burning building full of smoke and to save lives. Our subsequent investigation will be equally tenacious and we now have a man in custody.

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“Working with our partners and communities to keep Londoners safe is exactly why police officers come to work every day. We are recruiting people who share our determination to do just this. Please search ‘Met Careers’ if you’re interested in a career with the Met.”

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should call 101, ref 107/01Mar. To remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers.

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