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Trio escape Catford blaze - then man starts a SECOND fire at their home
Three men who were lucky to escape with their lives after a fire at their Catford home have been shocked after another blaze was deliberately started the following evening.
David Armitt, 53 and Derek Pooley, 42, along with their housemate, managed to escape through thick black smoke at their Further Green Road house after a passing driver sounded the alarm early on April 9.
But, that evening, while the house was vacant and still blackened from smoke and fire damage, a man was spotted by neighbours going into the building and starting a fresh blaze.
A 29-year-old has since been arrested over the second fire on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and is currently in custody.
Mr Armitt said: "For the first fire we were inside and I heard something go crash, woke up and heard somebody shout 'fire'."
He went on: "The place was filled with black smoke.
"It was really hard getting out because I couldn't see where I was going.
Luckily the fire hadn't spread to the rear of the house and we were able to get out.
He said: "Despite all that smoke we didn't;t have any health issues. We were lucky.
"That passer-by probably saved our lives."
Mr Armitt said: "I don't feel safe now and I worry for my neighbours. I think the neighbourhood is shocked.
The three men stayed with friends that evening, but neighbours were alarmed to see someone going into the vacant house shortly after 8pm that evening.
Martin Eldridge, 58, said: "I saw the guy going in the house. The, my wife was getting something out the garage and said 'there's a light in the bedroom'. It was flickering like a candle or something. I said 'that's not a candle'.
"It went up and there was a guy in there feeding the fire, putting clothes or something on it."
Residents describe Further Green Road as a quiet street - "like being in the countryside" - but say there have a number of burglaries, fights and visits from the police in recent months.
Neighbour Sylbourne Sydial, 45, a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator standing to be a Tory councillor, said: "We're all trying to keep the neighbourhood private and a nice, homely environment.
"This whole thing is not good but it's at least an opportunity for the people who live here to be more proactive."
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