Residents evacuated after suspected arson in St Albans

Police and firefighters attended a suspected arson in Newsom Place, St Albans.

Police and firefighters attended a suspected arson in Newsom Place, St Albans. - Credit: Archant

Two men were arrested in connection with a suspected arson at an underground car park in St Albans.

Police were called to reports of a fire at the car park in Newsom Place just after 2am on Saturday (February 16).

Four vehicles in the car park were on fire, and the flats above were evacuated as a precaution.

A police helicopter also attended the scene, and Hillside Road was closed towards the Manor Road End to allow for emergency vehicle access.

Five fire engines attended from St Albans, Redbourn, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead and Watford. Crews extinguished the fires and fully ventilated the block of flats, which were logged with smoke.

The residents of the flats were allowed to return at around 3.30am, and nobody was injured in the incident.

Three other cars were also found to be on fire in Hillside Road.

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A 24-year-old man from St Albans and a 25-year-old man from Hatfield were arrested on suspicion of arson and have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

PC Jody Perrin from the St Albans Local Crime Unit said: “A total of 10 cars were allegedly set alight and significant damage was also caused to other vehicles that were parked in the car park at the time.

“The flats above the car park had to be evacuated for safety reasons and the fires caused significant damage to the road surface along with the underground pipe network, including sewerage pipes.

“We know that a small white van drove down Hillside around the time of the offences so I’m appealing for the driver of that vehicle to get in touch as we believe they may be a significant witnesses with information that could assist our investigation.

“I’d also like to speak to anyone who thinks they heard anything unusual in the local area or saw anything out of the ordinary, strange or suspicious. Even if it seems trivial please still get in touch as you may have information that could help us.”

Any witnesses or anyone with information should email PC Perrin at or call Herts Police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference number 41/15364/19.