A FAMILY were lucky to escape with their lives after arsonists struck at their home.
Shocked passers-by raced to the rescue as flames engulfed the Lightfoot’s end-terrace house in Kingsway, Houghton, as they enjoyed an evening in.
Enid Lightfoot, 69, and her children Margaret Kenny, 50, and Ross, 33, were inside the property when three youths set fire to a pile of rubbish outside.
The blaze quickly spread to ivy climbing up the side of the house, with flames taking seconds to engulf the entire wall.
Two good Samaritans who were passing by saw the blaze and rushed to the rescue by trying to kick down the door.
Margaret was then pulled out to safety while the rescuers shouted for the others to get outside.
Ross was upstairs at the time and noticed smoke coming from the bathroom.
He then came face-to-face with flames as the fire had spread from the outside wall, through an open window and into the bathroom.
Ross tore down the burning curtains in a bid to stop the fire spreading, putting them down the toilet before rushing outside to safety.
No-one was injured by the blaze, which caused the windows on one side of the property to shatter.
Enid’s other daughter Anna Little said: “It’s ridiculous to think that someone has done this.
“It’s malicious and just nasty. Don’t they realise they could easily have killed someone inside. My family is lucky to be alive.
“One of the neighbours over the road said it looked like the entire side of the house was on fire. It’s scary.”
Anna, 27, said the blaze is the latest in a string of attacks at the home, with windows being smashed, eggs thrown at them and the garden shed being broken into over the last month.
Gentoo were at the property yesterday to carry out safety checks and are now trying to find Enid, Margaret and Ross a new home.
Anna said: “It’s a real shame because my mum has lived here for 40-odd years and we all pretty much grew up here. It’s her home.
“It’s just mindless vandalism and makes no sense but it could have been a lot worse.”
Police have launched an investigation into the arson attack at 4.30pm on Sunday, which they said involved three youths.
Anyone with information is asked to phone police on 03456 043 043.
* The Lightfoot family are hoping to trace the two people who helped rescue them.
If you know who the people are, contact the Echo newsdesk on 501 7147 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.