LIVES were put at risk in a Hampshire community after an arsonist struck five times on the same night.
Emergency services were given the run-around by the suspect after they set bins alight – before torching a caravan.
The arsonist struck at around 2.30am on Saturday in the Pilands area of Bursledon.
A total of four bins were set alight before a caravan on a driveway outside a property was set on fire, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed.
But people living in the community said the arsonist also targeted fences and an industrial waste container during a crime spree which was described as “chaos”.
The family who own the caravan said they were left devastated as they assessed the damage over the weekend.
The owner, who did not want to be named, said the suspect had tried setting the vehicle alight through a side vent.
The caravan was left badly singed by the blaze but a table propped up against the vent managed to form a fire block, preventing the blaze from spreading inside.
They said the situation could have been a lot worse as gas canisters were propped up at the front of the caravan, and the vehicle was parked just centimetres away from their home.
A van and a car were also parked inches away.
Police and fire crews from Hightown, Hamble and St Mary’s attended the scene at around 2am and rushed to locations where the arsonist struck.
Richard Mount, crew manager at Hightown fire station, said: “It could have been a lot more serious than it was had the fire spread to properties.
“We could have been in a really serious situation where some of the bins were up close to properties.”
Hampshire police are investigating and are treating the incidents as suspected arson attacks.
They are appealing for witnesses to come forward with information to help their inquiries and call 101.