St Leonards man and baby daughter flee home after arson attack

A St Leonards man has spoken of his terror after he and his baby daughter were forced to flee their home following an arson attack.

Aaron Minter, of Warrior Square, said he was putting his one-year-old daughter to sleep in her cot on Tuesday morning (June 28) when he heard a ‘huge bang’.

When he went to investigate he saw flames and smoke under the door.

He said: “As I opened the door I was met with the entire doorway and doormat ablaze. I was terrified and in a state of shock knowing that myself and my daughter were in the flat and had no escape except the front door.

The flames by the door to the flat

“I dropped my phone and took a bathmat that had been left on the floor and started to frantically beat the flames on and around the floor and doorway.

"After approximately a minute-and-a-half of beating the flames down as best I could, I remembered my phone was on the floor. I ran and grabbed my daughter and then phone and called the fire brigade and police.

"I exited the flat while holding my baby and started to run down the hallway banging on everyone's doors to tell them to get out of the building.

“I saw further down the hallway by my door the mat was still alight. So I grabbed it and took it to a communal area where there was no other carpet to stop the spread of fire any further. I was met by the cleaner who I asked to evacuate my daughter.

The flames by the door to the flat

“I then made sure the rest of the fire and embers were out and then left the building.

“I was terrified. My daughter was my priority and I had to keep her safe. She is my world in that moment I just as acted as any parent would. I wanted her out and safe.”

Police said a man has been charged with arson following the fire.A police spokesperson said: “Police were called to a block of flats in Warrior Square at about 10.15am on Tuesday following a report of a deliberate ignition."A man has been remanded in custody after being charged with arson endangering life.”

Damage to the front door following the blaze