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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Family terrified by arson attack on their home

A terrified mum has spoken of her lucky escape after arsonists attacked her home.

Workington fire photo
The blaze was started at the front door

Deborah Hewitson, 42, and her two teenage sons were asleep at their house on Lorton Avenue, Workington, this morning when they were woken by the sound of the smoke alarm.

Ms Hewitson came downstairs to see an “orange glow” through her front door and the hallway filled with grey smoke.

When she opened the door she was met by flames 8ft high which were so intense they cracked the nearby windows.

Firefighters told her that in another five minutes the blaze would have spread to the inside of the house.

She said: “The smoke alarm woke me up. I don’t think we would have woken up otherwise. In another five or ten minutes it would have been in the curtains and in the living room. There was grey smoke and I could see this orange glow.”

She added: “I hope they realise they could have killed a family. I feel very lucky, and feel the smoke alarm has saved my life. I wouldn’t have heard the fire: I was fast asleep.

“To say it was scary would be an understatement.”

She said that her two sons, Daniel, 16, and Jason, 14, were frightened that whoever did this would come back.

Bags of rubbish had been left outside in readiness for a collection but before they could be moved they were set on fire.

Ms Hewitson tried to extinguish the blaze herself by pouring water on it before calling the fire brigade.

She added: “They were really good. They were here within minutes.”

Ms Hewitson and her sons were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

A wheelie bin had also been set alight and police had reported several incidents though the night.

Police are treating the fire as arson and are appealing for information.

A wheelie bin four doors away was also set alight.

They also dealt with a rubbish fire in Wordsworth View, Salterbeck, around 9.45pm yesterday and a paper bin fire at Walls Road in the evening. Police believe the incidents may be linked.

Kevin Vannet, crew manager with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “They were very lucky. The smoke alarm woke the occupants and they were able to alert us in time to stop it spreading. Potentially, this could have been a serious house fire with the occupants being trapped upstairs.

“It nearly burned through the front door and the front window. It was minutes away from going and then blinds and soft furnishings would have gone up.”

Firefighters believe the arsonists set light to cardboard boxes and wood piled near the front door while the family were having building work done.

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