A MAN has appeared in court charged with arson after a blaze started in a block of flats near Basingstoke hospital on Monday.

Dean Puttock, 36, appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Wednesday and has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life and criminal damage.

The defendant’s third floor apartment on Netherfield Place, Priestley Road, caught fire on the afternoon of Monday, April 6.

Police were called by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service at 1.52pm on Monday, April 6, to a report of a fire on Priestley Road.

Six fires engines and four officers were called to the fire.

The 36-year-old was charged with arson, and recklessness as to whether life was endangered by damaging the property of Tim Pink, the court heard.

The assailant also damaged a police van to an unknown value of under £5000.

Mr Puttock was arrested at the scene and will remain in custody until Wednesday, May 6, where his case will appear in Winchester Crown Court.

District Judge Pattinson said: “I am going to send the case to Winchester Crown Court. It will be dealt with via video link.”

Crews from Basingstoke arrived at the scene at 13.46pm on Monday to tackle the fire.

An aerial ladder platform and breathing apparatus were used to extinguish the fire, with crews on the scene for over an hour.

Station Commander from Basingstoke Fire, Keith Jones said: “We attended the fire at Netherfield Place in Basingstoke, third floor of high-rise building. We have had six appliances, aerial ladder platform, command support vehicle and four officers attended this incident.

“We have got the fire under control quite quickly, but it had 75 per cent damage to the flat with 100 per cent to the lounge and kitchen area. The fire was mainly tackled from outside using our ALP to extinguish the fire externally before moving in internally.”

Resident, Glen Marsh, 55, who lives in a neighbouring flat said: “Initially I was frightened as I could see smoke going past my windows from the opposite side of my block. Thankfully I was able to go to my communal landing and see where it was originating from.

“I could see that it was contained in the first apartment, and that the fire brigade was in attendance probably within five minutes of getting the call.”