A man has been charged with arson after a fire destroyed a three-storey house and injured four people in Hackney.

Ian Pitkin, 63, of Newick Road, Clapton, is named as a suspect in the incident that took place on Wednesday (March 20) on his street.

Eight fire engines and 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the end of terraced house for nearly three hours after London Fire Brigade were called at 12.42pm.

The ground and first floors of the house were gutted by fire, with images showing thick black smoke pouring from the site. Three people had left the building before the brigade arrived.

Hackney Gazette: Smoke filled the streetsSmoke filled the streets (Image: Andy Vella)The Metropolitan Police also attended the scene and said three others from neighbouring properties and one passer-by sustained non life-threatening injuries.

The fire was brought under control by 3.28pm by firefighters from Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, Bethnal Green and surrounding fire stations.

Pitkin was arrested on Wednesday (March 20) after an investigation was launched into the cause of the blaze.

Hackney Gazette: Met Police blocked the roads while emergency services dealt with the incidentMet Police blocked the roads while emergency services dealt with the incident (Image: Andy Vella)He is now due to appear in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday (March 25) charged with arson with intent to endanger life, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway, responsible for policing in Hackney, said they are limited in what they can say now to protect the integrity of the judicial process and to ensure justice for the victims and the community.

He added: “Police and partner agencies responded swiftly to a rapidly unfolding incident on Wednesday, 20 March.

“We are pleased that our thorough investigation has led the Crown Prosecution Service to agree these significant charges.

“We will continue to engage with our close partners in the local community, including the Community Security Trust and Shomrim to support those impacted by this incident.”