A man is beginning a prison sentence after pleading guilty to arson at a flat in Stoke-on-Trent.
This fire caused terrible damage and endangered the lives of many local residents. This reckless act by Mr Kwiatkowski must not go unpunished and so I welcome the sentence handed down today and hope it serves as a warning to others.
Michael Kwiatkowski, 36, previously of Lancashire Court, Federation Road, Burslem, appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Tuesday February 6 where he was sentenced to six years and nine months for arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered.
Crews were called to the incident at around 8.20am on Friday October 6 2017 after Kwiatkowski set fire to furniture within his flat using lighter fluid. He then left the property and was later arrested by colleagues from Staffordshire Police.
Firefighters rescued three occupants from other flats and the block was evacuated, thankfully no one was injured.
At the height of the incident six fire appliances were in attendance, including the aerial ladder platform, and crews used a total of eight breathing apparatus and fought the blaze externally using a main jet to prevent the fire spreading to other flats.
A joint fire investigation was completed with Staffordshire Police, with help from Matt Dixon and his fire dog Kai from West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service. They were able to detect the presence of accelerants, which the investigation proved were responsible for the rapid rate of fire growth.
Simon Craythorn, who completed the fire investigation for the incident, said: “We welcome this sentence which reflects the seriousness of this fire. This incident could have easily resulted in serious injury or worse and it took considerable time and effort to safely extinguish the fire.
“Fire investigations are complex and difficult due to the damage caused by the fire. However, there is often plenty of evidence remaining that can help us to establish the cause, origin and spread of the fire. On this occasion crews worked really hard to minimise the damage from firefighting action and to preserve the scene.
“Our fire investigation work, in conjunction with the investigation completed by colleagues from Staffordshire Police, was able to evidence that Kwiatkowski was responsible for setting fire to his flat.”
Staffordshire Police’s Detective Constable Ben Thomas, who was the officer in the case, said: “This fire caused terrible damage and endangered the lives of many local residents. This reckless act by Mr Kwiatkowski must not go unpunished and so I welcome the sentence handed down today and hope it serves as a warning to others. Thanks to the excellent work of our colleagues at the Fire Service, we were able to put together a clear, concise and extremely credible prosecution case that convinced Mr Kwiatkowski to plead guilty.”
Photographs from the incident and a custody image of Kwiatkowski courtesy of Staffordshire Police