RESIDENTS of an Eastleigh housing complex have had a lucky escape after an unoccupied flat was set alight in a suspected arson attack.

The fire was spotted by an alert neighbour who managed to raise the alarm to allow the tenants of Drummond Court block - a complex of of 24 flats to escape.

Police have now launched an investigation into the incident. They say the fire could have had devastating consequences for residents.

One of those was mum Claire Houghton who lives above the targeted flat in Twyford Road with her eight-year-old son, Ben.

Claire, 28, a sales assistant, was in the bath when the fire broke out and, after the neighbour's warning, had to bundle her sleeping son outside.

She said: "It was very dangerous - about the most dangerous thing that could have happened to a place like this.

"It's my worst nightmare and one of the things I'm most scared of.

"If it had happened a few hours later I don't think people would have realised."

Ds Mark Ashthorpe, of Eastleigh CID, said: "Fortunately nobody was injured.

"It was a ground-floor flat in a block of flats and it could have had serious repercussions."

The flat itself was unoccupied at the time of the blaze.

The former tenant is believed to have moved out of the property a week earlier.

No other properties were damaged but the landlords, Eastleigh Housing Association, are to carry out repair work on a communal hallway.

Police are appealing for witnesses or for anyone with any information about the fire, which broke out at around 8pm on Sunday, to come forward.

Anyone who can help should contact Eastleigh CID on 0845 045 45 45.