Suspected arson victim picture released

FIRE VICTIM: Andrew West, 29, of Kell Crescent, Sherburn Hill, Durham, who is in a critical condition following the arson attack on his home on Thursday, March 22.
FIRE VICTIM: Andrew West, 29, of Kell Crescent, Sherburn Hill, Durham, who is in a critical condition following the arson attack on his home on Thursday, March 22.
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DETECTIVES have released a photograph of a victim of a suspected arson attack as they continue their investigation.

Andrew West remains in a critical condition after being hurt in the fire in Kell Crescent, Sherburn Hill.

The blaze left extensive damage to the semi-detached house and Mr West suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire, in the early hours of Thursday, March 22, is being treated as suspicious.

Mr West was pulled from the building by firefighters after a neighbour tried to get into the house, while another attempted to fight the fire with a hose.

It is thought the blaze was started when a burning wheelie bin was pushed up against the house.

Mr West was at the University Hospital of North Durham but has since been transferred to a specialist unit outside County Durham for expert treatment.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman hopes the photograph of the 29-year-old victim released as part of a fresh appeal will prompt people to come forward with new information.

He said: “We are working with the fire service and forensic experts to establish how and why this man and this property may have been targeted.

“I would therefore appeal for any witnesses or anyone with any information to come forward.

“This was a cowardly attack which has left a man fighting for his life.

“The fire could easily have spread to adjoining properties.

“We still need to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Kell Crescent area at about 2.15am on March 22, or anyone with information about this incident.”

Anyone with information can contact Durham Constabulary on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A 17-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and released on bail pending further inquiries.