Eastmoor blaze victims had a ‘lucky escape’

House fire: Litton Croft, Wakefield.'w306b329

House fire: Litton Croft, Wakefield.'w306b329

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An arson attack almost destroyed three bungalows in Eastmoor.

And firefighters say the Litton Croft residents had a lucky escape.

Crews from Ossett, Wakefield and Normanton were called to the blaze at 3.56am on Monday, by neighbours who were woken by the sound of crackling flames.

Neighbour Barbara Hanley, 44, rang 999. She said: “My husband Stephen thought it was rain at first, but then he looked out of the window and shouted that the bungalows were on fire. They were well alight. I called the fire brigade and he ran outside with my son. They were banging on the doors and telling the old people in the bungalows to get out, and then other neighbours came over to help.”

The fire is believed to have started under a car port that links a detached bungalow with two semi-detached ones and spread between the houses via the roof void.

Don Gill, 61, who lives in a third bungalow which was not damaged, said: “I could hear a crackling noise, like a load of little fireworks going off.

“A neighbour was banging on my door, telling me to get out.

“There was a lot of flames coming from the roof and a massive amount of black smoke.”

An elderly man from the detached bungalow was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics.

Watch commander Ian Stead of Wakefield Fire Station, said: “The three properties all had elderly residents inside when the fire started.

“They had a lucky escape.”

DS Pete Whittam of Wakefield CID, said: “We are investigating this fire which is being treated as suspicious and are keen to speak to anyone who saw suspicious behaviour outside the properties shortly before the fire started.”

A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson and released on bail.

Anyone with any information should call DS Whittham at Wakefield CID on 101 or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.