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One dead after hospice arson attack

Published 11/07/2015

A 67-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident
A 67-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident

A resident of a hospice has died after an arson attack which caused 32 people to be evacuated in the early hours.

A 67-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the fire at St Michael's Hospice in St Leonards, East Sussex, which police are treating as deliberate.

Emergency services were called to attend the blaze at the hospice at 12.50am today which was declared a major incident, leading to 23 residents and nine staff being evacuated.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "One of the residents, a woman, has since died.

"It is not clear at this stage whether her death is linked to the fire and an investigation is under way.

"A 67-year-old St Leonards man, who is known to the hospice, has been detained on suspicion of arson."

Chief Inspector Paul Phelps said: "This is an extremely difficult time for the residents and staff of St Michael's Hospice and for the family of the resident who has sadly passed away.

"For the emergency services the initial priority was to contain the fire and ensure the safety of staff and residents within the premises.

"Everyone was evacuated safely. Ten residents were taken to the Conquest Hospital, Hastings, with two treated for smoke inhalation and the others for nursing care.

"The remainder are being looked after in three nursing homes, and one resident was able to go home.

"We have detained a man on suspicion of arson and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this."

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