Man arrested on arson and firearms offences after fires at Harwich bus and railway station

ANGLIA 030224 Harwich arson
Essex Police
Police are investigating both fires. Credit: Essex Police

A man's been arrested after a fire crews tackled a series of suspected arson attacks in a seaside town.

Police said emergency services were called to fires at the bus station and a railway station at Harwich in Essex, while fire also damaged an historic ship in what is thought to be a separate arson attack.

Train services have been suspended while investigations are carried out.

Two vans were burned at the bus station while a station building at Harwich Town station was damaged by the fires on Friday evening.

Essex Police said they believe the fires were started deliberately.

A 36-year-old local man was arrested an hour after the incidents and is being questioned on suspicion of arson endangering life and possession of firearms offences.

Chief Inspector Jon Evans said: “I know this incident will have caused concern in our community but we have responded quickly to get a suspect into custody.

“We are working with the fire service and British Transport Police to deal with these fires, reduce the impact on the community, and establish the circumstances which led up to them."

Essex Fire said when their crews arrived at the bus station they found two vans on fire.

They also had to tackle a blaze in a building at the nearby railway station.

Extra crews were summoned from Clacton and Coggeshall to help put out the fire and stop it spreading through the rest of the station.

Rail replacement buses are being used while investigations are carried out.

In a separate incident fire crews also had to tackle a blaze on board an historic boat near the Quay in Harwich which broke out two hours later.

The light ship at the dock was also hit by an arson attack, though police said it was not linked to the other fires. Credit: Essex Police

The fire in the LV18 Light Vessel is also suspected of being deliberately started, but police say it is not thought to be connected to the other two attacks.

It was reported that a group of young people were seen leaving the area shortly after the fire had started.

Group Manager Danny Partridge, from Essex Fire, said: “Crews have been working in punishing conditions with extremely high temperatures in the engine room but have worked hard to enter the engine room from the deck and prevent the fire spreading throughout the rest of the boat. 

“We’ve still got lots more work to do to fully extinguish the fire and cool the scene and I’d like to praise crews for their determination in what has busy night in Harwich with three incidents. 

“Our Control Room has taken lots of calls to the incidents in Harwich tonight and I’d like the thank them for their quick actions to get crews to the scene while incidents were happening simultaneously.”