ARMED police were threatened with two large knives at a burning Bournemouth flat before unleashing a Taser and baton round on a man threatening firefighters and police officers.

Dorset Police received a call at 8.45pm on Saturday night from a man at a block of flats in Oxford Avenue, Southbourne, threatening to kill himself.

Shortly afterwards Dorset Fire and Rescue were called by the same male saying he had set fire to his flat, prompting all three emergency services to respond to the call.

When firefighters got to the building, they attempted to deal with the fire but were threatened by the man while police evacuated the rest of building.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said throughout the evacuation the man refused to leave the building, barricading his door and through his open window threatening emergency services should they attempt to enter and save his life.

The spokesperson said at 9.45pm, with all negotiations with the male failed and believing the male to be armed and potentially dangerous, officers from Dorset Police armed response unit forced entry to the flat.

They were attacked by a white male in his 40s armed with two large knives.

Officers deployed a Taser and a baton round which allowed them to subdue the man and remove him from the burning building, with firefighters extinguishing the blaze.

The man was taken to Royal Bournemouth Hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

A Dorset Police spokesperson said a man is currently assisting police with their enquiries in relation to arson with intent to endanger life and attempted assault on police and fire officers.

No–one was injured and residents have been allowed to re-enter the flats. 

Neighbour Daniel Broomfield, who lives with his family in Oxford Avenue, said: “The fireman in charge asked everyone to stay indoors, and then armed police turned up.

“I could see the firemen rushing to get in the back of the building. There was a man who looked about 40 leaning out of the window talking to the armed officers. When they got him out, he was in handcuffs.”

A 43-year-old neighbour, who asked not to be named, praised the emergency services for their bravery.

“We saw one of the fire brigade put on a bullet-proof vest so he could isolate the power supply to the building, which was a very brave thing to do,” he said.

“The paramedic who was the first to treat this man after he was arrested went straight up there and got on with the job. It showed me that thankfully we remain a country where people are both brave and kind.”

In total, 27 officers, including armed police, were sent to deal with the incident, and Dorset Fire and Rescue crews returned to the scene with CSI on Sunday to conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire.

Station manager Steve Underhill said: “We were called here at 9.07pm.

“One person was removed from the building, but no-one else needed to be rescued. There is fire and smoke damage to the flat, and we’re here today to look into how the fire started.”

Chief Inspector Debbie Marsden of Dorset Police said: “On our arrival, a flat within the premises was well alight and a male occupant was refusing to leave.

“Armed officers entered the building to save the life of the male in the burning flat.”