Terrified family trapped by arson attack
A MOTHER, her four-year-old daughter and three other residents were trapped by thick smoke when an accelerant was poured through their letter box.
The residents, who are too frightened to be named, were in different parts of the three-storey London Road building when the incident occurred at 11.15pm on Sunday.
The 25-year-old mum went to the top-floor flat to see another resident, leaving her sleeping daughter downstairs with her tenant just before it happened.
But as she watched TV, she noticed a burning smell and asked whether anything had been left in the oven.
When nothing was found, they sat down again. Minutes later, with the smell increasing, the 38-year-old male resident opened his front door and black smoke poured into his home.
He told the mother, now panicking about her little girl's welfare, to stay in the flat while he tackled the blaze with a fire extinguisher.
Thankfully, the resident looking after the youngster had moved her into the back of the property to protect her from the fumes. The other man, who lives in the first-floor flat, was also unhurt.
Firefighters then arrived and dealt with the small blaze, which damaged carpets and the front door.
"We were all lucky we caught it when we did," the mother said. "It was very thick smoke and I was so scared about my daughter. It was lucky the men of the house acted so fast."
The residents, who have been suffering from sore throats all week, were not allowed back into their homes until nearly 2am and are now afraid someone is targeting them.
"It's very frightening because we don't know if someone has a vendetta against us," the young mum said. "We are just so scared it is going to happen again."
Hastings Police are treating the incident as arson with intent to endanger life. Anyone with information should call 0845 6070999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.