Lucky escape after cars torched

The charred remains of two cars (a Nissan Note in front, and a Toyota Yaris behind) belonging to Oaks West residents, Tony and Jean Downie, which were torched by intruders on Thursday (180811) night.
The charred remains of two cars (a Nissan Note in front, and a Toyota Yaris behind) belonging to Oaks West residents, Tony and Jean Downie, which were torched by intruders on Thursday (180811) night.
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THIS is the trail of destruction arsonists left behind after breaking into a garage and torching two cars inside.

Jean and Tony Downie were sleeping in their Ashbrooke home when yobs smashed their way into the garage in their back yard before setting alight the two cars inside.

Neighbours woke to the sound of one of the cars exploding as the fire spread to the petrol tank and saw 20ft flames licking the side of the house.

They called emergency services – a move that saved the lives of the sleeping couple inside as the blaze crept closer to the house.

Jean, who has three adult daughters with Tony, said: “We’re just so grateful it didn’t spread to the house and no one was harmed. If it had been another five or 10 minutes it could have been far worse.

“We slept through the whole thing. I only woke up when I heard knocking on the door and it was the police telling us there had been a fire in the garage.

“We could smell burning and as soon as we opened the door to the back you could see how bad it was.

“At this point, the fire brigade had pretty much put everything out but neighbours said at one point the flames were 20ft high.”

The blaze has destroyed Tony and Jean’s Nissan Note and their daughter’s Toyota Yaris, which was left there after she had an accident that left her unable to drive.

It is also thought that the Nissan exploded when the flames hit the petrol tank, causing windows in the Downie’s back porch to smash.

Tony said: “Thankfully, there was nothing valuable in the garage, apart from the cars, because everything in there was totally destroyed.

“We don’t know why this has happened, but I think it’s down to the sheer stupidity of some people.”

Police have launched an investigation into the arson attack, which took place at about 1.30am on Thursday, at The Oaks West.

Neighbourhood Inspector John Connolly, who covers the area, said: “Luckily the fire hasn’t spread to any of the houses in the area and no one was injured.

“If anyone has information about who is responsible, I’d urge them to contact police.”

Anyone with information is asked to phone police on 03456 043 043 ex 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @sunechocrime