FLATS in Runcorn were evacuated last night, Saturday after a fire was deliberately set in a communal stairway.

At around 8.30pm crews were called to Plantation Close in Runcorn following reports of a fire in a stairway in a block of flats.

Firefighters, two wearing breathing apparatus, used a hose jet to put out the fire.

The flats were evacuated with assistance from Cheshire Police.

Four people were checked over by paramedics suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation and two casualties were taken to hospital as a precaution.

The fire is being treated as arson.

Anyone with information is asked to call Cheshire Police quoting incident number IML 379908.

Crews were at the scene for two hours and 40 minutes.