A 47-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of arson following a gas main fire in Seaton that left several residents unable to return to their homes.
Fire crews were called to the blaze in the area around Queen Street and Cross Street at approximately 5.45pm yesterday.
The fire involved a gas main on the outside of a building and a total of four fire engines attended the incident.
The gas board was requested to attend to isolate the gas supplies along with specialist officers trained to deal with hazardous situations.
Crews evacuated adjoining flats due to smoke logging and got to work extinguishing the fire.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed this morning that one man had been arrested and was in custody at Exeter police station.
They were called at 5.55pm to put a cordon in place. Several roads around the area were closed and five flats above the main, which was in an alleyway in Queen Street, needed to be evacuated.
A man was arrested around an hour and a half later on suspicion of causing arson. The suspect is 47 and is registered address is Falmouth, although it is understood he recently lived in the Seaton area.
A police spokesman said: “The suspect was taken to Exeter custody. Scenes of crime officers have been attending this morning to work with the fire investigator to determine the cause.
"Roads around the area had to be closed and a cordon remains in place to preserve the scene."
The Red Cross were also involved helping with the occupants who were evicted from their homes.
The gas board have had to dig up the road to isolate the main.
The fire was successfully extinguished using six sets of breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets and a thermal imaging camera.