Reporting by Beth Sharp and Aaron Shaw

Police have released a woman who was arrested on suspicion of arson with intend to endanger life after more than 50 firefighters tackled a blaze at one of Southampton's tallest tower blocks.

Officers say they the 28-year-old woman from Southampton remains under investigation.

Seven ambulances and dozens of police officers were also called to the scene on Sunday afternoon as the fire ripped through 19-storey Redbridge Towers.

Smoke and flames were billowing out of the 12th floor of the building at around 5pm.

Hundreds of spectators and worried family members and friends gathered near the base of the 187ft tower, scared for their loved ones’ safety, while they watched firefighters tackle the inferno.

Officers also cordoned off the road, directing traffic away from the area.
Residents of the block on the opposite side to where the fire took hold were seen on their balconies trying to catch a glimpse of the incident unravelling around them. 

It was not known whether an evacuation order of the entire building had been made.

A nearby resident described how she saw the incident from her kitchen window.

“It was scary to see. I could smell the smoke before I saw it,” said Jannette Jacobs.

“The smoke was just coming out of the window and my neighbours and me couldn’t believe what was going on.

“We phoned for a fire engine straight away, but we could hear them already coming towards us whilst on the phone.

“I hope everyone involved is okay.”

One person had to been treated for smoke inhalation.

By 6.30pm there was no more smoke coming from the building although it wasn’t known what structural difficulties might have been caused by the blaze.

No confirmation had been made if the residents in the flats above the fire, who were evacuated, would be able to return to their homes. 

One member of the ambulance team at the scene told the Daily Echo that he hoped the residents would be able to return by the day’s end.

The incident comes just days after the seven-year anniversary of the Shirley Towers fire, which claimed the lives of St Mary’s firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon.