Family saved by brave neighbour

IPSWICH mum Louise Girling today told how she feared for her children's lives after an arsonist struck while her family slept.

IPSWICH mum Louise Girling today told how she feared for her children's lives after an arsonist struck while her family slept.

Her husband Marty also praised rescuers who braved the intense heat from 10ft flames to help save them.

Mr and Mrs Girling were asleep in the front bedroom when a fibre glass boat on the drive of their Fletcher Road home was set alight around 12.45am on Saturday. The fire then spread to a silver Ford Mondeo parked next to it.

Their asthmatic 12-year-old daughter Georgina was in the other front bedroom, while their youngest son Aaron, 10, slept at the back of the house.

Mrs Girling, 44, was awoken by one of her neighbours, Peter Keeble, pounding on her front door.

She said: “I heard bang, bang, bang, really loud. I opened up the curtains to be greeted by 10ft flames. I looked down and the boat was totally disintegrated.

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“I screamed 'fire, fire, everybody get out'. And then I got my children out.

“I feel very lucky, It was frightening, very scary. We stood outside shocked and shaking.”

The family said they had an unknown motorist - along with Mr Keeble and his son Alan, 32 - to thank for raising the alarm.

Mr Girling said: “If it was not for them it would have been real devastation.”

The driver of a car saw the boat was alight and tried to knock on the Girlings' door. When they got no response they saw the light was still on in Mr Keeble's house across the road and went over to get help.

Mr Keeble rang 999, before joining his son to get the Girlings out.

The 54-year-old said: “The boat was well alight and the top was melting. I banged on the door. Then the car caught alight. I was just banging on the front door shouting through the letter box.

“It was very hot and I couldn't stay there for long. I kept coming away and going back again.

“Then I heard a bang from the car. The petrol tank was open. I thought it was going to blow.”

Mr Keeble told his son to go to the rear of the house and make sure the Girlings got out the back door.

Mr Girling, who had a heart attack just over a year ago, suffered chest pains during the drama and had to be treated by paramedics, although he was not taken to hospital.

Firefighters managed to put out the flames before the flames got to the house, although the front windows cracked due to the heat.

The silver Mondeo belonged to Mr Girling's neighbour Michael Last. Ironically, he had let Mr Last park on the drive because his previous vehicle had been vandalised while left on the road.

Mr Last's Mondeo was completely gutted by the fire and is now a write off.

The painter and decorator said the loss of his vehicle will affect his livelihood, adding: “It makes my blood boil.”

A police spokesman said the fire was being treated as arson with intent to endanger life. No arrests have been made to date.