THESE pictures show the extent of damage caused to a block of flats in Christchurch following a suspected arson attack.

Five people had to be checked over by the ambulance service at the scene for smoke inhalation following the incident at a block of flats in Hunt Road, Somerford.

Police say none of them were believed to be in a serious condition.

Bournemouth Echo:

Police received a call from the fire service at 7.56pm on Tuesday, November 16, and have now launched an investigation into the incident.

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The fire originated in a communal hallway of the building.

Bournemouth Echo:

Officers attended to assist the fire service and residents were evacuated as the fire was extinguished.

Bournemouth Echo:

Chief Inspector Andy Bell, of Dorset Police, said: “The initial indication is that this fire is believed to have been started deliberately and we have launched an investigation to establish the full circumstances of what happened.

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“I am keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area around the time of the incident or who has any information that might assist our ongoing enquiries.

Bournemouth Echo:

“We will continue to work with the fire service to confirm the cause of the fire and there will be a cordon in place as an examination of the scene continues.

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“I want to thank the residents involved for their co-operation and understanding as the emergency services respond to this matter, as well as other members of the local community affected by this incident.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online/, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 16:674. Alternatively, to stay 100 per cent anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or call Freephone 0800 555 111.