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Detectives investigating a suspected arson attack at a DIY store in Gravesend last night (Thursday February 23) believe the offender may have been injured by the explosion.

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Kent Police is appealing for witnesses following the incident at the Paint and Finish shop in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, at about 8.30pm.m.

They also revealed the shop was targeted in October last year - during Diwali - but no-one was ever arrested.

The incident is currently being treated as suspicious and officers are working with Kent Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the fire.

Detective Inspector Geoff Payne said: “We believe that the offender may have suffered injuries as a result of starting the fire and are keen to speak to anyone who might have seen anything, or anyone, suspicious or who knows of anyone with unexplained injuries which could have been caused as a result of this incident. Even a small detail or piece of information can make a real difference to our investigation.

“We are currently treating the incident as arson and enquiries are ongoing.”

As a result of the fire, about 50 residents had to be evacuated from their homes while about 50 firefighters tackled the blaze. Those evacuated were able to return to their homes at approximately 4.00am.

Some road closures remain in place today whilst the investigation continues and people are advised to avoid the area if possible.

Call police on 101 quoting reference 23-1418, or alternatively, if you have information but wish to remain anonymous, please call Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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