South East Wales

Cwmbran fire: Man, 49, quizzed over Samantha Thomas murder

Samantha Thomas Image copyright Tom Martin/Wales News Service
Image caption Ms Thomas celebrated her 29th birthday four days ago

An investigation into the murder of a woman in a flat fire in Torfaen is continuing.

Samantha Thomas, 29, died in the blaze on Shakespeare Road, St Dials, Cwmbran, on Tuesday despite neighbours' frantic attempts to save her.

A 49-year-old man, who was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, was later arrested.

Police said he was still being treated and had not yet been questioned.

Gwent Police and the fire service are expected to send scenes of crime investigators to the flat on Wednesday.

Neighbours told of desperate efforts to rescue Ms Thomas from the balcony of the top floor flat after the blaze broke out at about 06:40 BST on Tuesday.

Image copyright Tom Martin/Wales News Service
Image caption Neighbours used ladders to try and save the 29-year-old
Image caption Tributes have been left at the scene in St Dials
Image copyright other
Image caption Crews were called to the blaze at about 06:40 BST on Tuesday

Neighbour Gaynor Haines said: "I could hear these terrific screams and I looked out the bedroom window and it was just flames. Dreadful."

Another neighbour, David Leedham, 20, tried to help Ms Thomas escape.

He said: "The flat was engulfed in flames and she was on the balcony. We tried to reach her with a ladder but couldn't get there."

More than 30 firefighters from across Cardiff and Newport were sent to tackle the blaze.

The block of four flats had to be evacuated and the neighbours are being provided with alternative accommodation by Bron Afon.

Image copyright Tom Martin/Wales News Service
Image caption The fire broke out in a flat in a block of four - the remaining flats have been evacuated
Image copyright Tom Martin/Wales News Service
Image caption A 49-year-old man is continuing to be questioned by Gwent Police

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