Sunderland dad says he and son, three, could’ve been killed in arson attack on van

Arson attack victim Brendan Taggart
Arson attack victim Brendan Taggart

A dad says he and his young son could have been killed after arsonists set fire to a van just yards from where they slept.

Brendan Taggart was with his boy Brendan Junior, three, when yobs torched his Ford Transit vehicle which was parked just yards from his chalet off Villette Road in Hendon, Sunderland.

Arson attack on Brendan Taggart's van

Arson attack on Brendan Taggart's van

Builder Brendan and his son slept through the blaze, which has caused thousands of pounds of damage to his van, which has been destroyed, his Audi car and his property.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating the callous attack.

“I’d been out with my son for the day and at Seaburn until late so we came back and went to bed,” said Brendan, 45.

“I never woke up during the whole thing. We could’ve been killed if the fire had spread to the chalet properly.

The aftermath of an arson attack on Brenda Taggart's Transit van.

The aftermath of an arson attack on Brenda Taggart's Transit van.

“The Audi is damaged and the Transit has been written off completely.

“The decking of the chalet is also damaged, some of the windows have melted and I’ve lost all the tools which I kept in the van so I’m about £7,000 down off it altogether.

“But I had a lot of petrol in the van as well so the fire could’ve been worse.

Brendan, who is also dad to Jordan, 26, says he thinks he has been deliberately targeted in the attack.

“If someone wants to hurt me then fair enough, but I had my son with me,” he said.

“He’s only three-years-old and is totally innocent.

“I won’t be able to stay there when I have him so I’ll probably have to go somewhere else when he’s with me while things die down.

“I’ve heard of other cars being burnt out around other places in Sunderland over the past few days so it looks like someone is going around doing it.

“It’s not kids doing this, it must be adults.”

The attack took place shortly after midnight on Thursday night.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “Police are carrying out inquiries after a van was set on fire in Villette Road in Sunderland in the early hours of Friday, September 23.

“Considerable damage was caused to the van and a nearby car and caravan.

“It’s believed the fire was started between 12.30am and 12.40am.

“Any wintesses are asked to call Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 34 23 09 16 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”