A MAN who fled a burning house this morning has been arrested on suspicion of arson.

The 37-year-old suspect was one of two men who escaped the blaze at Chaytor Road, Bridgehill, near Consett, County Durham, at 1.35am.

A woman and children who live at the same address had been staying elsewhere at the time.

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Ten firefighters from Consett station, five from high Handenhold and two with an aerial ladder platform from Durham City arrived at the scene and were there for about five-and-a-half hours.

The man, who was described as the occupier of the house, was arrested nearby. No-one was hurt in the incident.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service group Group manager Tony John said: “The first-floor bedroom and the roof void were well alight.

“A family live at the house but the woman with the children had been staying elsewhere.

“The male occupier and a male friend were in the property at the time and they managed to get out unhurt.”

A Durham Police spokesman said: "We can confirm a 37-year-old man has been arrested in relation to a house fire in Chaytor Road, Consett which broke out in the early hours of this morning.

"The suspect was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and was detained near to the scene of the blaze.

“He has since been taken to Durham city police station where he is being questioned.

"A joint investigation is under way involving police and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service."

Chaytor Road was closed while the incident was ongoing. Go North East buses said its 46 service was diverted but was back to normal by about 8.20am when the road was reopened.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Consett police on 101.

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