MYSTERY surrounds a suspicious blaze that engulfed a Hampshire shed, destroying more than £2,000 worth of items, including three children’s bicycles.
Adrian Lemarechal woke up in horror to find the shed at the bottom of his Millbrook, Southampton, home on fire, with flames quickly spreading to the fence and nearby trees.
It comes just 24 hours after a spate of arson attacks in the Bitterne area of the city, when fire spread through two ground-floor flats, forcing residents to flee. A van was also targeted.
As previously reported, the flats fire in Hood Road, Bitterne, and nearby Edelvale Road in the early hours of Sunday morning are being linked, but they are not being connected to the latest blaze in Millbrook.
Mr Lemarechal, 46, was in his flat in Blyth Close, with his girlfriend Jennifer Hunt, and children, Ryan, 11, Summer, ten, Adrian Jr, seven, and one-year-old Sapphire, when the blaze took hold in the early hours of yesterday morning.
He said: “I got woken up at around 3.30am from a neighbour saying our shed was on fire. I looked outside and the shed and fence has gone up.
“It spread quite rapidly.
“The shed is totally destroyed. It has ruined my tools, motorbike pieces, DJ speakers, the kids’ bikes. It’s about £2,000 worth of damage.
“It was horrible and not something you would expect at 3am.
“Luckily there was someone upstairs. If it wasn’t for our neighbour, who knows how bad it could have been?”
The cause of the fire is still being investigated with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service treating it as “cause doubtful”, meaning that arson cannot be ruled out.
A spokesman for the service added: “All fires have the potential to be extremely dangerous and, at worse, life-threatening.
“Any incidents that we attend that are thought to be suspicious will be investigated by police and treated as crimes if they are found to have been started deliberately.”
Police in the area have put up appeal posters in the area in a bid to get any witnesses to come forward.
Officers investigating the arson attacks in Bitterne are also continuing their appeal for witnesses as no arrests have yet been made in connection with those fires.
Anyone with information about any of the fires should contact Bitterne or Shirley police stations on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.