Man dies as fire rips through Willenhall flats

A man has died and more than 50 people were evacuated from their homes today as arsonists struck three times in less than an hour in Willenhall.

One woman was injured after being forced to leap from the window of her flat in Southey Close, New Invention, as the blaze took hold at the three-storey block shortly after 2am.

The victim, named locally as Victor Moore, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 20-year-old man has been arrested from a house in New Invention on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and was this afternoon being questioned by police.

Investigating officers believe the blaze was started in a wheelie bin – and within 40 minutes of fire crews arriving, reports were made of another two in the nearby area.

One, which was reported at around 2.30am, was started in a wheelie bin outside a house in Wychbold Way.

Nobody was injured but a small number of people had to be rescued. Neighbours either side of the home were informed of the blaze by police at 3am but were able to remain in their homes.

And a line of bushes was set alight shortly afterwards outside an empty home in Crab Lane, which today remained cordoned off.

Det Insp Warren Hines, from the police’s Major Investigation Team, said an investigation had been launched .