Arson attack ‘like being caught in a volcanic eruption’

COUNTING THE COST -- the damage caused to the garden on Salterford Road
COUNTING THE COST -- the damage caused to the garden on Salterford Road

A HUCKNALL couple whose garden was targeted in an arson attack say it was like being ‘caught up in a volcaninic eruption’.

The pair, who do not want to be named for fear of repercussions, were woken at midnight on Thursday September 6 by the sound of crackling and a glow coming from their garden.

“We looked out the window and couldn’t believe what we saw,” said the retired householder. “Our conifers were on fire and the flames were about 30 feet high.”

The corner plot on Salterford Road had a neat hedge made from conifers but there is now a charred gap created by the fire.

“It was very scary as we thought the house was going to go up. I ran downstairs and called the fire brigade and police.

“As I opened my door I was met by a young woman who had been driving by and saw the fire. She had stopped and was on her way to alert us.”

Luckily the fire brigade, who are stationed close by, arrived within minutes.

“I went outside to move the car and got covered in ash and dust,” said the victim. “It was like being in a volcanic eruption.

“But it could have been so much worse. If the fire had spread to the house, I don’t know what we would have done.”

The couple are now left counting the cost of the attack as well as trying to put right the damage to their property.

“We had to have all our windows cleaned by a specialist firm as well as get our car valeted and checked over as there was ash and fire splinters all over it,” added the man, who has lived in the house with his wife for 41 years.

“And the conifers are not covered by our insurance as they aren’t classed as fencing. So we now have to pay to have new gates made and installed.”

There have been 11 suspected arson attacks in the Hucknall West area between April and September this year, which actually represents a 58% reduction in comparison to the same period last year.

“Nottinghamshire police are working closely with the fire and rescue service to tackle the issue,” said a police spokesman. “This has included visiting schools and educating pupils about the dangers and consequences of arson.”

Hucknall’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler said: “While it may seem harmless to those responsible, the consequences of arson can be extremely serious — both for the offenders and potential victims.

“An arson conviction carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Fire can easily spread to nearby buildings, causing more damage and putting lives at risk.”

Anyone with information about local arson attacks is asked to call the police on 101 or call the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.