Police say they have launched an arson investigation after a serious fire in a block of flats in Daventry.
The fire broke out in a flat in Ericsson Close, on Ashby Fields, just after midnight on Wednesday morning.
Fire crews attended and described the ground floor flat as ‘well alight’. The crews managed to extinguish the fire within an hour.
The porch and hallway of one flat was severely damaged, with smoke damage to the remainder of the property and to a neighbouring one.
In a letter being sent out to households in the area tonight, Daventry district Sergeant Sam Dobbs writes: “At around midnight, a wheelie bin was pushed under the porch and in front of the front door of 15 Ericsson Close, a block occupied by a number of residents asleep at the time.
“The bin was set alight, causing a serious fire and requiring a 13 year old girl to have to jump from a first floor window.
“This is one of the most serious incidents we have had to deal with in recent times, as life was endangered and damage was significant.
“Whoever did this mindless act showed no regard for life – we could have been dealing with a murder investigation this morning.
“My message to you, therefore, as local residents, and by way of an early update is; This is an unusual and targeted attack and in no way linked to other crimes of arson you may have seen in the local newspapers over the past six months.
“As I write, we are actively seeking a number of local people who will be arrested for this offence.
“Remembering how serious a matter this is, if there is information you think we should be aware of, please contact us on 101, quoting the incident number NP20160224-004. If you have any information which you would rather give anonymously, you can do this through the Crimestoppers charity by calling them on 0800 555111 or sending a message online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
“If you are aware of any issues in the neighbourhood in the previous evening or days, please don’t presume that someone else told us. Let us know now. You might have a vital link.”
Police officers are expected to remain in the area on Wednesday night to provide reassurance to residents.