THUGS smashed a window and set a house on fire while a mum and her two children were inside.
Emergency services were called to Shrewsbury Crescent, Sunderland, in the early hours after the blaze tore through the front room.
It is believed the arsonists hurled something through the window of the Humbledon house, before setting the inside alight at about 2.20am yesterday.
The mum and her two young children were inside the property, but managed to escape uninjured.
A woman living on the street, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s unbelievable really to think that someone would do something like this.
“They’ve had a lucky escape by the sounds of it because things could have been a lot, lot worse.
“There seems to be a lot of this going round at the moment. I read about the one over the weekend in Washington and now here.
“What is wrong with people? Do they realise how dangerous it is?”
Detectives have launched an investigation and are trying to establish whether the attack, which is being treated as arson, was random or targeted.
Police patrols have also been stepped up in the area to reassure residents.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 ex 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.