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Woman charged with deliberately starting flat fire
12:40pm Thursday 28th June 2012 in News
A WOMAN has appeared in court accused of deliberately setting fire to an Evesham flat.
Michelle MacDonnell, of Battleton Road, Evesham, was brought before magistrates in Worcester on Monday morning charged with arson with intent to endanger life.
The 33-year-old did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody to appear at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday.
Emergency services were called to a fire at Hemmingway, off Fairfield Road, Evesham, at 6pm on Wednesday, June 20, to reports of a serious flat fire.
MacDonnell was rescued from the flat and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by air ambulance.
She remained in hospital for a short time but has since recovered.
A man who was also in the property at the time of the fire was treated by paramedics at the scene. MacDonnell was arrested in Birmingham on Saturday on suspicion of committing arson with intent to endanger life and later charged with the offence.
Meanwhile, Hemmingway resident Rachel Swinbourne’s partner, Marcus Archer, aged 50, has been hailed “heroic” after trying to help MacDonnell escape the inferno.
Ms Swinbourne, aged 48, said: “I heard the man who lives there shouting so I thought I’d be nosey and when I went outside I could see the fire. My other half couldn’t get through the front so he went around the back into the kitchen, but the smoke was too thick.
“We’ve just got smoke damage in our flat. We’ve had to rip the curtains down to wash them and wipe the walls. The emergency services were fantastic and as for my partner, he was stupid to go in there but it was instinct.”
Watch Commander Russell Broadbent, of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said crews took less than 10 minutes from the time of the call to rescue MacDonnell.
He said: “Crews were faced with some very difficult conditions but worked quickly and effectively to rescue the woman.”