Arsonist jailed for huge blaze

Keith Philpott
Keith Philpott
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A MAN who destroyed his mother’s flat by setting fire to it in the early hours of Boxing Day has been jailed for four years.

Keith Philpott, 24, set fire to clothing in a bedroom of a flat on Topping Street which he shared with his mother.

She had gone away to Scarborough for Christmas to visit relatives leaving her son alone.

But after drinking heavily, he lit a fire at around 4am which not only destroyed his mother’s flat and the flat above, but also damaged nearby shops.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to arson and was jailed at Preston Crown Court.

DC Warren Jones, from Blackpool police, said he was pleased with the sentence.

He added: “This man is very lucky the couple sleeping in the flat above did not lose their lives in this fire.

“He has shown a reckless disregard for the safety of these people and their property.

“I think the sentence reflects the severity of the offence and the significant impact it has had on those affected.

“Both his mother and the other couple have lost their homes because of his actions.

“Precious items like their family photographs have been lost.”

A hairdressers shop below the flat suffered water damage as firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control.

It also spread to Blueberries, a designer clothes shop next to the property, damaging stock worth thousands of pounds.

The shop also suffered losses at not being able to fully operate in the January sales which began the next day.

Philpott (left) was arrested later that day. He claimed he had tried to extinguish the fire but it had quickly grown out of control and spread.

He raised the alarm himself and went to knock on the door of the other flat to ensure the other people evacuated.

Dick Stott, fire investigation and enforcement manager from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said he was pleased with the sentence.

He added: “It is right the courts recognise the severity of arson crimes in their sentencing.

“Arson endangers lives, wrecks property, damages the environment and imposes a burden on communities in terms of loss of jobs and resources that is difficult to recover from.

“Thanks to their work in partnership with police, our intelligence officers help to uncover the evidence and are building up an ever-increasing number of successful prosecutions to combat arson.”