Man charged with arson and carrying a fake gun after Hackney house fire

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Man charged with arson and carrying a fake gun after Hackney house fire

Ian Pitkin, 63, will appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday

Hackney house fire (pic LFB)
Hackney house fire (pic LFB)

A man has been charged with arson after a fire in Hackney, east London, injured four people.

Ian Pitkin, 63, will appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with arson with intent to endanger life, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.

Police had initially said they had arrested a man with regard to a potential hate crime.

Detective Superintendent James Conway said: “To protect the integrity of the judicial process and to ensure justice for the victims and our community, we are rightfully limited in what we can now say.

“However, we will continue to engage with our close partners in the local community, including the Community Security Trust and Shomrim to support those impacted by this incident.”

Emergency services had been called to Newick Road in Hackney on Wednesday around 12.45pm.

Eight fire engines and roughly 60 firefighters helped to battle the blaze.

The ground and first floors of the three-storey house were destroyed by the fire, the London Fire Brigade said.

London Fire Brigade station commander Alan Bendell, who attended the scene, said: “Crews worked hard to bring the fire under control and stop the fire from spreading to neighbouring properties.”

Three people were seen leaving the building before the brigade’s arrival and four were taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews. None were seriously injured.

DC Conway, responsible for policing in Hackney, added: “Police and partner agencies responded swiftly to a rapidly unfolding incident on Wednesday,” he said.

“We are pleased that our thorough investigation has led the Crown Prosecution Service to agree to these significant charges.”

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