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Hunt for arsonist after Maidstone town centre fires

An arsonist is believed to be responsible for a series of fires in a town centre including at a book shop. Firefighters were first called to reports that five cars had been set alight in two streets in Maidstone, Kent, at 1.16am today.

Then at 2.11am, fire crews were scrambled to The Works bookstore in Week Street, where a blaze had spread to three adjoining shops.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Police inquiries into the incidents, which are being treated as suspicious, are ongoing."

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said crews wearing breathing apparatus searched the shop and police evacuated neighbouring properties.

He said: "Firefighters have made good progress in tackling this very large fire which has affected four shops in Week Street, Maidstone.

"Fifteen crews were at the scene at the height of the fire, but by 6am this was reduced to six. They have been using breathing apparatus, 10 main jets and two aerial appliances.

"There are no casualties reported. Properties in the area have been evacuated and Maidstone High Street and Week Street are currently closed."

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Crews tackle major fire in Maidstone

Crews tackling a fire in Week Street in Maidstone Credit: SECAmb HART

More than fifty firefighters have been at a fire on Maidstone High Street.

It broke out at a bookshop on Week Street early this morning. Buildings were evacuated and surrounding roads closed. The number of crew has now been scaled back - but some could remain for the next few days.

Crews tackling a fire in Week Street in Maidstone Credit: SECAmb HART

Drivers warned of delays following fires

Motorists are being advised of significant disruption around Maidstone town centre this morning following a number of fires.

Kent Police was called at 1.16am to reports that five cars had been set alight in the Buckland Road and Somerfield Road area of the town.

Then at 2.11am it was reported that The Works bookstore in Week Street, Maidstone, was on fire and that it had spread to adjoining properties.

Firefighters from Kent Fire and Rescue Service are currently at the scene of the Week Street fire.

Police enquiries into the incidents, which are being treated as suspicious, are on-going.

Uncertain future for fire ravaged Clandon Park

The National Trust says it is still unsure whether a stately home which caught fire last week will ever be restored.

Most of the rooms of the 18th century Clandon Park building near Guildford have been completely destroyed and the building left an empty shell - however one room has survived. Emma Wilkinson reports.

Investigation underway following hotel fire

Crews from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called out at 5am this morning to reports of a fire at a hotel in Eastbourne.

Four fire engines attended the scene at Royal Parade on the seafront where firefighters used breathing apparatus to put-out a small fire in the basement.

Police and ambulance also attended.

A fire investigation is underway.

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Investigations into Clandon Park fire ongoing

The full extent of the devastating fire at Clandon Park became clear today - as ITV Meridian was given exclusive access to see the priceless antiques, artwork and furniture saved from the flames.

Fire crews managed to remove 90% of the most precious items from the 18th Century stately home, run by the National Trust, near Guildford in Surrey.

Even so, the Grade One listed building, has been gutted by the fire.

It's believed an electrical fault was to blame, although investigations are still ongoing.

With the latest, Emma Wilkinson.

Fire crews assess the damage at Clandon Park House

Fire crews assess the damage at Clandon Park House Credit: ITV Meridian
Fire crews assess the damage at Clandon Park House Credit: ITV Meridian
Fire crews assess the damage at Clandon Park House Credit: ITV Meridian
One of the artefacts saved at Clandon Park House Credit: ITV Meridian
The interior of one of the rooms at Clandon Park House Credit: ITV Meridian

Stateley home gutted by fire

Three hundred years of history has gone up in flames - at the historic stateley home, Clandon Park.

The mansion - built in the 1720s and once home to the Onslow family - is now but a shell of its former self.

Fire crews have spent the day damping down and assessing the damage to the national trust owned property, near Guildford. Clandon Park is a Grade one listed building - with gardens. A popular venue for weddings!

The blaze broke out in the basement at just after 4pm yesterday. At its height, between 80 and 90 fire fighters battled the blaze.

They were also desperately trying to get out precious antiques, artwork - and ornaments - before they burned.

Emma Wilkinson reports.

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