A WOMAN remains in hospital after a Sunderland home was targeted in an arson attack.
The 36-year-old and a 35-year-old man had to be rescued by firefighters from a terraced cottage in Hendon Burn Avenue after it was set alight.
Both were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
The woman continues to be treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, with her condition described as stable, while the man was later released from Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Police said a 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, after investigators found the fire was started by deliberately using an accelerant.
Neighbours helped with the rescue effort after the blaze broke out at 10.30pm on Monday.
We just wanted to make sure they got out and they were safe.Ashley Fowler
A 14-year-old girl helped raise the alarm by knocking on doors, while next-door neighbour Shaun Clark, 30, kicked in the door of the burning home to try and reach those inside before being overpowered by smoke himself.
Shaun, his partner Ashley Fowler, 26, and their daughter Hannah, eight, fled their home in their nightclothes and watched on as the emergency services arrived.
He said: “The lass next door knocked on us and I went and kicked the door in and I wanted to make sure no one was in there.
“The smoke was thick and black, it was scary.
“But I couldn’t get in, the smoke was overpowering.
“The fire brigade came and they went in.
“We saw the man and woman being brought out and they were in ambulances.
“She looked dead, but we know she wasn’t, and they looked like they were unconscious and then conscious.
“We’re just grateful to get the bairn out. Now we want to move house.”
Ashley added: “I was more half-asleep and we were all in our pyjamas.
“We just wanted to make sure they got out and they were safe.
“They’ve been very lucky.”
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s fire dog Scrappy was sent into the house yesterday morning to help Northumbria Police’s forensic officers and Tyne and Wear Fire Service’s investigators.
Tyne and Wear service said two appliances from Sunderland Central Community Fire Station and one from Farringdon Community Fire Station attended the fire.
Group Manager Richie Rickaby, who was in charge of the incident, said: “The fire was well alight when we arrived.
“Four firefighters wearing specialist breathing apparatus entered the property and rescued two people from the house; a man and a woman, who were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.Crews also put out the fire.
“Following a joint investigation with Northumbria Police into the cause of the fire it is now being treated as arson.
“I would encourage anyone with any information about the incident to contact the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 1283 160315 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.