Three youngsters, one aged just 11, have been arrested following a suspected arson attack in Winsford.
Emergency services including police and firefighters had to be called out to the blaze at an unoccupied flat above a convenience store in Cheviot Square at around 4.30pm on Friday (July 28).
Nobody was injured in the incident, which police have described as a 'deliberate act', and they have since arrested three local boys aged 11, 13 and 15.
All were held on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and all have now been released under investigation, pending further enquiries.
'Very serious consequences'
Detective Sergeant Rob Astbury said: “This was a deliberate act which could have had very serious consequences.
"Thankfully on this occasion nobody was injured as the fire was spotted quickly and brought under control before it could spread to any neighbouring properties, however the circumstances could have been far worse.
“I would like to reassure local residents that this is an isolated incident, three local youths have already been arrested and we are not looking for anyone else in relation to the fire.”
Steve Barnes from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service added: “With incidents like these it is only a matter of time before someone sustains serious injury or, worse, is killed.
'We need residents help'
"We work very closely with the police and other partner agencies to tackle this ongoing issue of deliberate fires and this will continue, but we also need residents to be aware and help us where they can.
“Arson is extremely dangerous, fire spreads quickly so what may seem like a small fire can easily become out of control. Not only do these fires put the lives of firefighters at risk, they also cause considerable danger to the public because responding to incidents of arson could delay firefighters in getting to a real emergency.
"What arsonists don't realise is that it could be their friends of family members who are in need of rescue in an emergency.”
Anyone with any information in relation to the fire is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 490 of 28/7/2017. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 .