A van fire on the drive of a home in the early hours of the morning is being treated as possible arson by police.
The large vehicle was destroyed in the blaze which also spread to a neighbour’s car and caused heat damage to two houses in Templeton Close, Hartlepool.
Police are investigating and say they believe it may have been started deliberately.
Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt and the residents of the homes closest to the fire all got out safely.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “We received a report at 12.50am on Tuesday that there was a van and a car on fire on the driveway of a property.
“It is being treated as suspected arson. Inquiries are ongoing.”
Neighbour Jonny Worth told yesterday how he, his wife, two teenage daughters and pet dog, had to scramble over their garden fence to safety.
They were awoken by Jonny’s eldest daughter, whose bedroom is at the front of the house, at about 12.45am.
Jonny, 44, said: “We were all asleep when my eldest daughter heard a noise, looked out and saw the van was burning.
“She raised the alarm and got us all out of bed. I took a look out the window and knew straightaway there was no way we could have come out the front.
“We hopped over the fence, me, my wife, two kids and our dog into next door’s.
“They were coming out at the same time and we had to hop over their fence and out onto a little field.”
He added: “Luckily it hasn’t touched my wife’s car and hasn’t done a great deal of damage to the house.
“It could have been a hell of a lot worse.”
Two fire engines from Hartlepool Community Fire Station attended and put out the fire and cleared the smoke.
Witnesses or anyone with information about the fire is asked to call police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting incident reference 124793.