Arson victim ‘lucky to be alive’

The house in Everett Street targeted by arsonists
The house in Everett Street targeted by arsonists

FIRE chiefs say it is lucky no one was killed after an arson attack on a terraced house.

Firefighters rushed to Everett Street, in Hartlepool, in the early hours of yesterday after being alerted to the blaze.

Luckily they managed to help a woman escape unhurt and put the fire out before it spread and put the lives of neighbours in danger.

Investigations yesterday led to fire chiefs confirming the blaze was started deliberately.

Today, Steve Patton, Stranton station manager, revealed the fire could “very easily” have ended in tragedy.

He warned residents to be more aware of the dangers, saying: “People need to realise that small fires very easily become big fires.

“On this occasion the residents on the street were lucky, this could have been a disaster, it’s lucky nobody was killed.”

Yesterday’s blaze comes just weeks after the Mail teamed up with fire, police and council chiefs to make a stand to clamp down on the mindless arsonists who are putting lives at risk by starting reckless fires.

The Stamp it Out campaign was launched after it was revealed arson attacks alone cost town taxpayers £2m last year.

And Mr Patton said Cleveland Fire Brigade will continue to take a “zero tolerance approach” to arson attacks.

“This fire was started deliberately but luckily the damage has been restricted to downstairs,” he said.

“It’s fortunate that we got a call because this could easily have spread.

“We got a call alerting us of the fire off somebody using a mobile phone, it’s a good job they called us so quickly.

“People need to be aware of the dangers, we need to cut this out.”

Two crews from Stranton station dealt with the blaze in the Dyke House area of town at around 4.40am yesterday.

The fire was contained downstairs and only the front door of the property was damaged.

Although arson figures have fallen in the past 10 years, 378 of 583 fire-related incidents in the last financial year were confirmed as being arson attacks, equal to 64.8 per cent, as previously reported in the Mail.

Residents are reminded to alert firefighters as soon as they see flames but to also pass on any information to police about anyone they suspect of starting fires.

People are also asked to report any mounds of rubbish that could be used to start fires.

To report a fire call 999 and to pass on information about suspected arsonists, ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

To report dumped debris that could be set on fire, ring the council on (01429) 523333.