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Family's terror after arson attack at their home
“THEY could have killed us.”
Those are the words of a couple who fled from their home in terror as arsonists went on the rampage in a Hampshire community.
Colin Lovelace and his wife Jenny say they are lucky to be alive after a blaze threatened to engulf their home.
As reported yesterday, the 52-year-old was woken by a loud bang and looked outside to find his car ablaze – just yards from a gas pipe for the house.
The frightened pair ran downstairs to escape – only to find the flames outside were so fierce that the front door had melted.
As smoke began to seep into the house, they made their way to the back door and escaped into the garden, where they scrambled to safety over the fence with the help of a neighbour. Fire crews needed breathing apparatus and high powered hoses as they battled for two hours to save the property in Rhinefield Close, Bishopstoke.
Police last night launched an investigation into the blaze, as it was revealed three cars had been targeted by arsonists at around the same time in the Eastleigh area.
Mr Lovelace, who said he had seen someone hanging around outside on first looking out of the window, told the Daily Echo yesterday: “I started to smell the smoke and the door was beginning to melt – that’s when we said we’ve got to get out.
“Later on you feel pretty scared when you think about what could have happened if we hadn’t woken up.
“Another ten minutes and it could have been very dangerous and we wouldn’t have got out.
“It doesn’t bear thinking about, these people are stupid,” said the insurance broker, remarking on what could have happened if the car’s tank had exploded or the gas pipe had ignited.
“They could have killed us. I feel angry. I’m devastated.”
The couple’s red Mazda was destroyed in the fire at 3am yesterday, but there was also damage to the front door, cladding of the house, a fence and the garage, which had to be pulled down.
A youngster, who was seen kneeling by the car and running away, is described as white, wearing a red top and aged in his late teens or early 20s.
Later, police discovered that attempts had been made to light fires in a red Ford Focus, parked around the corner in Sunningdale Close. The car’s boot was open and contained burnt pieces of paper and more burnt paper was found on the passenger seat.
Youths were seen playing with fireworks earlier in the evening Anyone with information should call Detective Sergeant Sarah Dring at Eastleigh CID on 101.
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