Dawlish patient admits setting light to flat

Thursday 16th December 2021 12:36 pm
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Exeter Crown Court

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A DAWLISH patient has admitted starting a fire which caused neighbouring homes to be evacuated on a housing estate in Exeter.

Tim Hawkins was arrested after police and firefighters were called to a report of a loud bang and ensuing fire at the ground floor flat in Beacon Lane, Exeter, on the afternoon of November 11 this year.

Other residents in the three-storey block were moved out until the fire, which caused a power cut in the building, was declared safe to re-enter. There were no casualties.

Hawkins, aged 29, of Beacon Lane admitted arson when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court by video link from Langdon Hospital in Dawlish, where he is detained under the Mental Health Act.

Judge David Evans ordered further psychiatric reports to be prepared for a sentencing hearing on January 28 next year.

The judge remanded him to the hospital and told him he could not make any promises about sentence.

Three fire appliances were called to Beacon Lane at around 3 pm on Thursday November 11 and some neighbouring homes were evacuated while crews tackled a fire that caused serious damage to the flat.

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said at the time: ‘Police were asked by the fire service to attend a property in Beacon Heath, Exeter following a fire in the area.

‘Police arrested a local man in his 20s on suspicion of arson and he remains in police custody.’

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue spokesperson said: ‘Two fire appliances from Danes Castle and Middlemoor were mobilised to a property on Beacon Lane, Exeter, following calls from residents of flats who heard a loud bang and the lights went off. They could also smell burning.

‘Crews were on scene within minutes of being mobilised and requested a further fire appliance be mobilised for extra personnel, due to the loud bang being heard and this being a three-storey property. The third fire appliance was also mobilised from Danes Castle.

‘After entering the property crews soon located the fire to a ground floor flat that was fully involved in fire and set to work evacuating neighbouring properties.

‘Crews made good and steady progress, preventing the fire spreading to other flats, as well as bringing it under control, using two breathing apparatus and one hose reel jet, before using a thermal imaging camera to check for hotspots and a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the property of smoke.

‘Two fire officers remained on scene assisting the Police with fire investigation. Damage was severe by fire and smoke, and was confined to bedding and soft furnishings in the flat concerned.

‘There were luckily no casualties. Once the scene was made safe fire crews left the incident in the hands of our fire investigation officers and the Police.’

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