ANXIOUS residents say they no longer feel safe in their own homes following a series of suspected arson attacks at a block of flats.

An investigation is underway at Riverside Place, in St John’s Avenue, Braintree, after the fire service was called to three separate incidents last week.

Firefighters were initially called out on Tuesday to a small blaze in the lift.

They then returned on Thursday evening and again on Friday morning to fires in the lobby and bin areas.

Halstead Gazette:

Officials have remained tight-lipped over the cause of the fires, but many living in the flats are convinced all three were started deliberately.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Someone set a carry bag on fire inside the doorway near the lift on Tuesday and somebody set a fire in the lift on Thursday.

“The smoke filled the lift shaft from top to bottom.

“Then on Friday morning fire engines were out again as someone set the bin shed on fire.

“The person above the bin shed has said her flat is ruined.

“It is terrible and us residents don’t feel safe living here.

“Some of the people here are staying with family or friends in case anything else happens.”

Halstead Gazette:

Another resident, Nick Tait, added: “The whole thing has left us feeling pretty uneasy and it’s hard to sleep at night.

“We have two young daughters and it was two nights on the trot that our hallways and property was filled with toxic smoke.

“We’re not happy in the slightest. I can’t really see fires in the lift lobby and bin stores starting on their own.”

Essex Fire and Rescue has confirmed it was called out to three incidents at Riverside Place last week.

A spokesman said one of the incidents was caused when a “small amount of paper ignited”.

However, he added the exact cause was unknown and investigators could not confirm if any of the incidents were arson.

Home Group, which manages Riverside Place, sent a letter to all residents last week confirming an investigation is underway into the fires.

It also revealed it had reported the first fire on Tuesday to Essex Police as arson.

The letter added: “If anyone has any further information that could assist the police with their investigations, please report it.

“Home Group take these matters extremely seriously and will be seeking to carry out a full investigation into how this fire happened.”

Residents say security guards are employed by Home Group and can often be seen on-site.

Bosses were understood to be meeting with the fire service this week to discuss last week’s events.

Home Group says it is supporting the police and fire service with their investigations and will look into ways to prevent future issues arising.