Detectives investigating a fire at a nail bar in Hailsham on Wednesday afternoon (March 4) have revealed that a man fighting for his life in hospital is being treated as a suspect.
The 50-year-old man, a 21-year-old woman and five-month-old baby boy were all taken to hospital following the fire in an upstairs room above Hollywood Nails in High Street around 5.15pm.
All three were initially taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton with the baby being transferred to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton before being moved to a specialist burns unit at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
He is critically ill with life-changing injuries, but has shown some improvement and is described as stable.
The man has been transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead where he is being treated for life-threatening burn injuries.
The woman remains in hospital in Brighton with serious injuries and burns, but is described as stable.
Detective chief Inspector Mark O’Brien said: “While we have ruled out the involvement of anyone else in this incident, the information we have so far has led us to treat the man as a suspect in an assault investigation. He has not been arrested as he remains critically ill in hospital.
“We are working with colleagues from the fire service along with forensic and crime scene investigators to establish the circumstances and hope to be able to speak to the woman soon. Once the forensic and crime scene work is completed, we will be undertaking a search of the property.
“There has been an enormous amount of local speculation and officers are now undertaking local enquiries to discover the true facts of the incident. We would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything in the time leading up to the fire. The man and woman are understood to be of Vietnamese origin and may have been in the street beforehand.
“If they were and you saw them, you have any CCTV from around the shop or any other information relating to the incident, please email email@example.com or call 101 quoting Operation Arizona.
“I anticipate that we will remain at the property for another day or so while our investigations at the scene are completed and I would like to thank the local community for their patience and support while this continues.”