A couple were awoken in the early hours of the morning by the fire brigade after part of their home was set alight.
Kevin and Karen Archbold, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, were in bed early on Monday morning when they were awoken by the emergency services to tell them their back fence and shed had been ablaze.
Luckily, the fire was spotted by member of the public who dialled 999, otherwise the flames could have spread causing much more damage, said welder Kevin.
The shed and part of the fence were destroyed in the incident.
Kevin, 57, a father of three, said: "Me and the wife had been out for a drink. We came home and went to bed.
"About one o'clock in the morning the fire brigade were banging on the door saying my shed was on fire.
"If someone hadn't seen it the whole lot could have gone up."
Kevin believes a pile of rubbish had been set alight next to the fence in the alley that runs behind the terraced houses and shops.
A tin of paint was found by the fence.
Kevin added: "It looks like somebody has dumped some plastic bags. I think someone has just come along and thought they would set it on fire for a laugh.
"Someone dumped a fridge freezer on Thursday. We get suites, beds and all sorts left."
Kevin had to take a day off work to begin to clean up the damage and mess caused by the fire.
He said there are plans to install a CCTV camera covering the alley which he hopes will make a difference.
Firefighters from Hartlepool's Stranton Fire Station rushed to the incident at about half past midnight and quickly put the fire out.
A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokesman said: "We were called out to a shed fire at 00.39am which was at the back of Owton Manor Lane.
"One appliance from Stranton Station attended and used one hose reel to put out the fire.
"There was 100% fire damage to the shed and fence and we left the scene at 1.04am."
Information on the cause was not available.