AN ARSON investigation has been launched and a man arrested after a fire broke and neighbours reported hearing an explosion at property in Southampton.

Officers and fire crews are investigating the incident at an empty property in Kendal Avenue, Millbrook on Sunday evening.

Hampshire Police confirmed that a man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Crews were called at 6.45pm after neighbours reported hearing an explosion.

Craig Brookwell, 34, unemployed, lives next door and was at home with his family when the fire broke out.

He said: “I heard an explosion, it’s even hard to describe, it was just a bang and the floor shook. I saw flames going up the wall.”

Mr Brookwell said he ran outside and made sure his partner, his mother and his daughter were safe before calling the emergency services.

He added: “I tried to put the fire out with buckets of water. I couldn’t just stand there I had to try everything. My family was screaming, they were scared but I wasn’t. I didn’t really have time to think about it. I just had to go on.”

Mr Brookwell said his house has not been damaged and added that the house where the fire broke out was empty following a fire earlier last week.

Hampshire Police have confirmed that no-one was hurt in the incident but the house was severely damaged – there was hole in the roof, the walls were smoke blackened and windows shattered.

Hampshire Police Inspector Sean Duffy said: “No-one was injured, however we are treating the incident as a potential crime at the moment. Will carry out investigations to identify the cause of the incident.”

Officers and firefighters scoured the area and carried out investigation in the property during the evening.

People living either side of the damaged house were evacuated and waited outside while police carried out investigations in the properties.

Kendall Avenue remained closed for an hour and the area around the house was cordoned off.