A SOUTHAMPTON family were targeted in a terrifying suspected arson attack.

Police believe the home was broken into, before a sofa cushion was placed on a gas hob and the hob turned on.

The family returned home to the property in Shirley Avenue at about 7.45pm yesterday to find a fire in the kitchen.

Firefighters were called to tackle the blaze but the kitchen was completely destroyed, while the rest of the house suffered smoke damage.

An investigation has been launched, and police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Detective Constable Lucy Stewart said: “The incident occurred at some time between 4pm and the time when the family got home to find the fire. It appears that a sofa cushion was placed on the gas hob and the hob turned on, causing the fire.

“This was a very serious and dangerous incident; it is extremely lucky that no-one was hurt.

“I am appealing for anyone with any information about this incident to come forward and speak to us, to help us find the person or people responsible.”

Anyone with information should contact DC Stewart at Shirley police station on 101.