Two confirmed missing after suspected arson attack in Reading

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Two people have been confirmed missing after a block of flats was gutted by fire in a suspected arson attack.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) said after an extensive search, it does not expect there to be any more survivors.

One person has been confirmed dead following the blaze.

Shortly before 10.30pm, the TVP Reading account tweeted: “Following an extensive search, during which all rescue opportunities were exhausted, we can sadly confirm that we do not expect there to be any more survivors.

“As confirmed earlier, we know that one person has tragically died. Two people have since been confirmed missing.”

It added emergency services will be at the scene overnight and work will begin on Thursday to assess the structural damage to the building.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at Rowe Court, Grovelands Road at around 3am on Wednesday.

Four people were treated in hospital while another seven received medical care from ambulance crews at the scene.

The building was so badly damaged by fire that it has been left unstable.

Reading fire
Damage to the property in Reading (Marc Ward/PA)

Those affected by the fire in Reading are to be provided “temporary respite accommodation”, the local council has said.

Witnesses heard an explosion and some residents were forced to jump from the building to try to escape the fire.

Others described a woman jumping or falling from an upper floor.

Doug Buchanan, from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, told journalists that firefighters had rescued one resident with a ladder, while another was talked to safety by a call handler.

Reading fire
Emergency services at the scene of the fire (Ted Hennessey/PA)

The source of ignition of the fire is not yet clear.

Police said the incident is not being treated as terror-related and urged people to avoid the area, where road closures are in place.

TVP advised anyone who is concerned about a loved one to make a report online at or by calling 0800 051 6079 or 020 7126 7641 from outside the UK.

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