A COUPLE have been left homeless after a devastating arson attack caused up to £30,000 worth of damage to their house in Hollington.
Terry and Sue Turner are still trying to come to terms with the attack on their terraced home in Wishing Tree Road North where they have lived for 11 years.
The blaze was started deliberately in their shed at the back of the three-bedroom property in the early hours.
The flames and heat caused major damage to the rear end of the building and the couple are now having to live in a hotel. Police have launched an investigation and want to speak to anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area last Thursday night (March 8).
Susan, a care worker, was asleep when she heard banging on her door downstairs around 2am last Friday.
She thought it was her husband returning from his night shift as a railway track inspector and went to open the back door.
When she opened up she was confronted by a raging inferno and quickly shut the door and ran out the front. Firefighters were called to the scene and the intense heat caused the window frames to melt and windows to crack.
Smoke poured in through the cracks and filled the house leaving it uninhabitable. Firefighters spent two hours tackling the blaze and making the property safe.
Furniture was heavily smoke-logged inside and surveyors were this week assessing whether there had been any structural damage.
Two weeks ago vandals caused £1,800 of damage to the Turners’ Renault Clio parked outside. They slashed all four tyres and put a scratch down one side.
The next day a neighbour found the offending weapon, a knife stuck, in her garden fence.
Terry and Sue will now not be able to return to their home for several months.
Sue, 57, a mother-of-five, said: “We just can’t understand why anyone would do this kind of thing - it’s just devastating.
“If I had not woken up in time or I had the grandchildren with me, God knows what might have happened - it does not bear thinking about.
“Somebody has gone in around the back and torched our shed. With it being so close to the house it was a fierce fire and caused a lot of damage to our windows and frames.
“We have lived in this area all our lives and have never fallen out with anyone.
“It’s just mindless, reckless, vandalism and I hope they are caught before they have the chance to do the same again.”
Crew manager Andy Ling said: “The cause was deliberate and it started in the shed.
“The smoke poured in through the cracked glass. The shed was very close to the back end of the house and the fire caused considerable damage.
“This could have been a catastrophe if the occupant had not woken when she did and got out the house.”
Witnesses and anyone with information can contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 90 of 9/3 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.