A SPATE of fires in a derelict building in Sunderland is being treated as arson.
Three fire engines and an aerial platform were needed to fight the blaze in the empty property at Maltons Cottages by Wearmouth Bridge just after 6pm yesterday.
It was the second time that day the brigade had been called to the address after an earlier call at about 3pm.
In the second call-out, firefighters put out blazes on the ground and first floors and in the roof.
Watch manager Kevin Williams, of Sunderland Central fire station, said: “We believe someone has broken into the property on the ground floor and set a couple of fires.
“There was severe damage to the first floor and it burned through the roof, so we used the aerial platform to extinguish it in the roof space.”
Students in nearby Bonners Raff were affected by smoke.
Police are investigating the cause of the fires, which are believed to have been started deliberately.