Reading fire: Huge blaze breaks out in building leaving one dead and others missing

A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and arson after a fire left one dead and a number of others unaccounted for.

Thames Valley Police said one person died in the large fire at a block of flats in Grovelands Road, Reading, Berkshire.

A man, 31, has been arrested and remains in custody.

The force said the incident is not being treated as terror-related and urged people to avoid the area.

Thames Valley Police said that officers will “exhaust all our efforts to find signs of life” as they stage a search and rescue operation with emergency services colleagues at the scene of the fire in Reading.

A statement issued by the force said: “We are working with our colleagues on a search and rescue operation and will exhaust all our efforts to find signs of life. We expect this phase of the operation to continue today and into the evening and perhaps beyond.

“Three people have been taken to hospital so far, and these all have non-life-threatening injuries. An additional eight people were treated by the ambulance service at the scene.

“A number of other people have been evacuated from the scene and are being cared for by the local authority and partners.”

In a statement earlier today, police said: “Officers have arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of arson and murder and he is in custody at this time. The incident is not being treated as terrorism related. Road closures are in place, and people are asked to avoid the area at this time.

“If you have any concerns, for loved ones, please try and contact them in the first instance. A dedicated number is being set up for this, and details will follow very shortly.”

A fire service spokesperson told BerkshireLive : “We are still at the scene of a significant incident in the Grovelands Road area of Reading. A number of fire appliances are attending and roads in the area are congested.”

Grovelands Road is closed to traffic in both directions between Brisbane Road and A329 Oxford Road and is closed to buses.

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We are currently attending a major incident in Grovelands Road, Reading with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police. Please avoid the area.”