Family flee as arsonists strike twice
ARSONISTS attacked two houses in the early hours of the morning forcing a family to jump to safety from a first-floor window.In the most serious of the two attacks a toddler was dropped from a bedroom window as a family desperately tried to flee their blazing home.
ARSONISTS attacked two houses in the early hours of the morning forcing a family to jump to safety from a first-floor window.
In the most serious of the two attacks a toddler was dropped from a bedroom window as a family desperately tried to flee their blazing home.
When fire crews arrived in Melford Road, Sudbury, at around 12.30am they saw the occupants of the terraced house hanging from a windowsill.
Nick Irwin, 46, who lives opposite the house said the mother, believed to be in her 20s, had to be coaxed down.
He said: "I heard the dog barking like mad and I went out in my dressing gown. I saw this girl and a child sitting on a windowsill and there was a guy standing on a wheelie bin trying to get them down. The girl was very nervous and didn't want to jump, but she came down eventually."
Ambulance crews then took the woman and her 14-month-old daughter to the West Suffolk Hospital to have treatment for smoke inhalation.
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The male occupant, also in his 20s, received treatment at the scene.
It is believed the fire started in a front room.
Meanwhile, 58-year-old Patricia Griggs, who lives around 400 yards away from that house, reported to police that a burning piece of paper had been shoved through her letterbox.
She thought it had happened between 10pm and 2am today.
Suffolk police today confirmed they are linking the two incidents and are treating both as suspicious.
An investigation is now underway.
Paul Collins, divisional officer of Suffolk Fire Service, said: "When the crews arrived (at the first house) the occupants were hanging from a windowsill. The child was then dropped from the window.
"The male occupant had smelt smoke and did what we tell people to do. He dropped to the floor and called ourselves and his brother via a mobile phone. He was then able to get into the rear bedroom to get the child."
Mr Collins said smoke alarms were fitted at the premises, although they were not working at the time.
Three fire engines were called and four breathing apparatus wearers using two hose reels tackled the flames within minutes.
Next door neighbour Ron Street added: "We had a fireman shout through our letterbox to get out of the property. I saw the fire crews going into the house and as they bashed down the front door they were met by a blast of black smoke."
While, Mrs Griggs said: "I smelt smoke last night but I couldn't find where it was coming from so I thought it must be outside. I had heard fire engines so I thought it must be something to do with that.
"It's scary to think someone could do that. My husband has got bad legs and if the house had gone up we would have had a problem. The curtain was singed and it wouldn't have taken much for it to go up."
Anyone with any information about the two fires should contact Clare Connick at Sudbury police station on 01284 774359.