TWO people were taken to hospital after a bin fire spread into flats following a suspected arson attack.

Shortly before 11.20pm on Tuesday, police received a report of a fire at flats on Marian Court, in Gateshead.

Emergency services attended and the fire was extinguished. Four flats had been damaged and a man and woman were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the fire, which Northumbria police are currently treating as suspected arson. It is believed that the fire spread from a nearby wheelie bin which had been set alight. A 50-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and last night remained in police custody and is assisting officers with their enquiries.

Detective Sergeant Ben Mcintosh, of Northumbria Police’s Central CID department, said: “This was a serious fire that has resulted in a man and a woman being taken to hospital. We are committed to determining the circumstances surrounding the fire, which has caused significant damage to properties.“Our officers remain at the scene to carry out enquiries, and I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area last night, or believe they have information that can assist with the investigation, to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Northumbria police on 101 quoting reference 1233 100919 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.