Hunt for suspected arsonist left 'engulfed in flames' while torching home in South Shields street
A suspected arsonist who was seen running away from a fire “engulfed in flames” is being sought by police.
Shortly after 3am on Tuesday, officers received a report that a house was on fire on Belloc Avenue, South Shields.
Emergency services attended and one occupant was treated for minor burns to his feet. Nobody was seriously injured.
The blaze is being treated as suspected arson, and inquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible.
Police have since obtained CCTV footage which shows a man acting suspiciously at the front door of the address in question shortly before the fire ignited.
The man can then be seen running away from the scene engulfed in flames.
Officers are looking to trace the man in question, who is likely to have suffered severe burns.
Detective Constable Gavin James, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was a very serious incident that could have resulted in severe injury or even a fatality.
“Our inquiries have led us to a man who was acting suspiciously at the front door of the address in question, just before the fire was ignited.
“We are now keen to speak to him in connection with the incident.
“We would ask anyone who is aware of somebody who has come to suffer serious burns over the last few days to come forward and pass that information to police.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference 78 240619 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.