Town counts cost of arson spree

VIDEO A SUFFOLK voluntary medical group was counting the cost today after vital life-saving equipment was destroyed in an arson attack which wrote off up to four cars.

A SUFFOLK voluntary medical group was counting the cost today after vital life-saving equipment was destroyed in an arson attack which wrote off up to four cars.

A kit from Woodbridge and District first responders was lost when five vehicles outside a home and on the forecourt of John Grose garage and car dealership were damaged in the early hours of Saturday by two separate fires deliberately lit in the same road.

The fires forced two people to flee their home as flames scorched the front door. Suffolk police has launched an investigation into who started the fires.

The first responders' kit was in the back of a Ford Galaxy owned by Kelly Condon.

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Mrs Condon, 43, of Great Bealings, near Woodbridge, had left her car for repairs at the garage on Friday.

But on Saturday morning she was called to the garage to examine the damage.

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“It is rather a state - but thank God nobody was hurt,” she said.

“The main thing that has upset me is that the first responder's kit has been lost. We are a voluntary organisation and rely on the public to help us.”

Her Galaxy and a Ford Focus were written off after the 1.55am attack. There is a chance a badly burned Ford Fiesta, owned by the garage, could be salvaged, said David Grose, one of the directors of the family firm.

“In all the years I have been here I have never had anything like this,” he said.

“The people who do this cause a disproportionate amount of damage - you don't have to do a lot when you throw a match.”

Mr Grose said the firm was working with customers to minimise their inconvenience.

“It's a highly unusual thing to happen - even the police said it was unexpected. You wouldn't expect it to happen here.”

A burgundy Renault Clio parked outside the damaged Ipswich Road home was also destroyed and the back of a blue Citroen parked next to it was singed.

The fire in the vehicles was so intense that as the fire spread flames they reached its front door, just metres from where the residents were sleeping.

Andrew Boland, an IT manager who lives opposite the garage and home affected, said: “Woodbridge is the last place you would expect to find this. It is so surprising - we've not had vandalism and criminal damage here.”

A FIRE officer today condemned the arsonists who attacked Woodridge for putting people's lives at risk.

Geoff Pyke, temporary divisional officer at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the perpetrators were dangerous and reckless.

“People start these fires and have no idea what the consequences can be,” he said.

“What starts as a small fire can become a very grave situation. There is a danger to people's lives.”

He also said the pollutants released from the resulting smoke could be harmful.

Forensic evidence from the Woodbridge fires was likely to have been destroyed but it was possible a friend or family member of the arsonists may know what had happened, he added.

Anyone with information can call Arson Alert on 0800 555 111 or Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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