Police investigating after a number of cars are burnt out in a spate of fires in Sunderland

Three cars and a van have been destroyed in a spate of car fires in the Grangetown area of Sunderland.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 3:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 5:28 pm

Three cars and one van have been ravaged by flames while a number of front doors have melted by the burning heat of the blaze.

Northumbria Police has confirmed it is investigating three of the incidents and in one instance an unknown person was seen setting fire to a the number plate of a car before making off.

One woman said she feared for her safety when she saw her car ablaze outside her window in Leechmere Road, Grangetown.

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Suspected arson attack on Leechmere Road, Grangetown

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s just so scary to think that we could have been hurt if the petrol tank had exploded.

“I’ve heard of a few incidents nearby. I just can’t believe someone could do this.”

Her son, who also asked to remain anonymous, added: “I was watching the TV with my mam when I heard a crack, as if a window had smashed, I looked outside and we could see the flames.

“I went to open the door to see what I could do but the door handle was so hot.”

The car was towed away following the suspected arson attack in Grangetown

Police officers have confirmed they have been made aware of at least three of the four vehicle fires.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "At 1.46am on Thursday, January 2 we received a report of a car on fire on Leechmere Road, Sunderland.

"An unknown person was seen approaching the car and setting fire to the front number plate before making off.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference 79 020120."

Damaged front door following suspected arson attack on Leechmere Roard, Grangetown

They also confirmed officers were called to two car fires within metres of one another, in Westminster Terrace and Ryhope Street (reference 154020120) at around 5.45am on Thursday, January 2.

One woman, who lives in Ryhope Street, awoke to the light from the flames of both fires as smoke poured into her open window.

She said: “I called the fire brigade. A car and a van were both on fire within just metres of one another.

“I’ve heard about a few fires recently and a friend in Thorney Close said they’d had a few near them in the last few weeks.

Fire crews were called to Hemming Street, Grangetown, in the early hours of New Year's Eve.

“It’s so quiet around here, you just don’t expect it.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has also confirmed firefighters were called to Hemming Street at 4.40am on Tuesday, December 31. One crew from Sunderland Central and another Farringdon were sent to the blaze as the fire spread to a second car.

Van fire in Westminster Terrace, Grangetown
The damage following a car fire in Hemming Street.
A car was destroyed in Ryhope Street, Grangetown, just metres from a van fire.
Burnt out cars in Grangetown