SEVEN people and a dog were rescued by firefighters following last night's suspected arson attack.

Fire crews from New Milton, Springbourne, two from Christchurch and the aerial ladder platform from Westbourne, were sent to Wenlock Court in Hunt Road at 7.47pm on Tuesday November 16.

On arrival, they found a "well-developed fire" in a ground floor stairwell.

Seven people and a dog were rescued from the building, two with the use of fire escape hoods, and three from an upper floor flat via a ladder.

Five other residents moved themselves to safety. Two people were treated by paramedics at the scene as a precaution.

Six breathing apparatus wearers used two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire, which badly damaged the communal area and stairwell.

Firefighters remained on scene for several hours, ensuring that the scene was safe – the stop message was made at 9.27pm and the last crew left shortly after 11pm.

Station manager Mark Downing said: “Crews worked incredibly hard to contain this fire and prevent it from spreading. This is an incident that could have led to multiple casualties, so firefighters did a great job in bringing the residents to safety.

“Our fire investigator is now working with Dorset Police, as we believe the fire to have been started deliberately, and we would urge anyone with information about what happened to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at, via email or by calling 101, quoting incident number 16:674.

Alternatively, to stay 100% anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at or call free 0800 555 111.