A retired Burnley man was lucky to escape serious injury following a suspected arson attack at his home.
The 62-year-old, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussion, was woken by his St Cuthbert Street neighbours after they spotted the blaze in his backyard at 11-45pm on Monday.
Firefighters extinguished the fire, which was confined to an outhouse, while the man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
The man, whose house was targeted a few days earlier when a brick was thrown through the back window, said he was lucky his neighbours had managed to wake him.
“It could have been a lot worse. I didn’t really know what was going on when I woke up but I managed to get out.
“It is worrying because I’m here on my own and there have been a few problems in recent months. It’s a real shame because it used to be such a nice area.”
Police are concerned the address is being targeted by youths in the area and are appealing for any witnesses to the fire to come forward.
Det. Sgt Alisa Wilson, of Burnley CID, said: “I am appealing to anyone with information about the fire to come forward. The offenders may have smelt of smoke on their return home last night or may have discussed the fire with friends.
“People in the community may know who has been loitering around this property in recent months and I would urge them to make contact. The alarm was raised by a neighbour and had the elderly male not been alerted early, the consequences could have been much worse.”
Anyone with information can contact Lancashire Police on 101, quoting log reference 1699 of June 23rd or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.