THREE police officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation after bravely rescuing a suspected arsonist from a burning flat in Colchester.

Essex Police were called to Ship Wharf shortly after 1.35am this morning, Saturday November 9, following reports of a disturbance.

Once they arrived at the scene the officers were confronted with a third-floor kitchen fire before working to evacuate the building.

The Essex County Fire & Rescue Service arrived shortly after 2.15am and were informed that officers had already rescued one person, but another remained in the property.  

Firefighters then entered the property before quickly retrieving and leading the endangered resident to safety.

The blaze was extinguished by 2.46am and the occupant of the flat, a 41-year-old, was taken to hospital for treatment.

He has since been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and he remains in our custody.

District Commander for Colchester, Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston, praised the bravery of the police officers. 

He said: “This was an incredibly dangerous situation for all involved and, as they do on a daily basis, our officers have proved that they’re not afraid to face peril to ensure that members of the public are protected from harm.

“It’s very fortunate that no-one was seriously injured and the officers involved will be back on duty tonight, where they’ll continue to police the streets of Colchester.

“My teams are continuing to work diligently to piece together the circumstances leading up to this morning’s events, and anyone with information is asked to call us on 101.

"Please quote incident number 84 of Saturday 9 November.”

A spokesman for the Essex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the cause of the fire has been recorded as deliberate.

The flat has also been left with some smoke damage.