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'We're lucky to be alive': Swadlincote mum shares her horror finding a fire outside her house

Police think the blaze was the work of arsonists

A Swadlincote mum told how she screamed at her young children to flee as she smelt smoke in the kitchen after arsonists struck at her home.

Terri Thompson's home in Union Street, Swadlincote, was targeted in a fire police believe to have been started deliberately by firebugs who set rubbish ablaze at the back of her property.

She said her children were left distraught after the blaze, with Max, 9, and Hollie, 7, not wanting to leave her side or go to school.

Miss Thompson was getting ready to put her three children, Max, Hollie, and Thomas, 1, to bed after a school disco at around 8.35pm on Thursday, November 2, when she realised that something was wrong.

She said she could smell smoke coming from the kitchen and could see a fire outside the back door while the door itself was glowing.

She said: "I just shouted the kids to get out of the house. Holly had no shoes or socks on and Max had no shoes on, but I just wanted them to get out of the house.

The outside of the house has been left severely damaged by the fire

"I just ushered the children out of the house and we ran down to the other side of the street. We just stood there watching the flames.

"It was only five minutes between ringing 999 and them arriving, but it felt like a lifetime.

"I was waiting for it to go boom and the kids were in hysterics because the dog was still inside. I tried to get back in to find the dog but I wasn't allowed. Luckily, the dog was OK - just a bit shell-shocked."

The fire broke out next to a gas pipe outside the house. Miss Thompson says the pipes had turned blue because they were so hot from the fire.

Firefighters at the scene told her that if they had been much later getting to the scene, the fire could have reached the main gas supply and blown up - with disastrous consequences.

She added: "The fire fighters said that if I had gone back to look for the dog, it could have made all the air rush into the house, making it blow up.

"We're lucky to be alive."

The mum says that the children were still scared after the event, not wanting to be in the house, and also not wanting to go to school and leave their mum at home. Alfie, the family Shih Tzu, escaped unhurt.

Miss Thompson has been left to tidy up the mess caused by the fire

Police have said they suspect arsonists were behind the fire and are now investigating.

Rubbish left in a skip nearby had caught alight and spread towards the door, they said.

"They aren't themselves. They have just gone quiet. That is not normal for a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old. It's horrible.

"I've hardly eaten or slept since it happened. I sit in the kitchen until the early hours of the morning, looking out of the window."

A police spokesman said waste outside the back door of the property was found to be on fire between 8.35pm and 8.50pm. The property was damaged, but no-one was hurt, he said.

Anyone with information is urged to get in touch with PC Nathaniel Glynn on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 17000475967.

Alternatively, crimes can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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