TWO families have described how arsonists torched their caravans in a terrifying double attack in Blidworth.
Chris and Caroline Slater were watching television late last Wednesday night when the caravan parked on their drive on Grange Road went up in flames inches from their front door.
Both escaped unharmed despite the blaze destroying the caravan and wrecking every front window of their house within minutes.
Theirs was one of two torched in the space of 10 minutes, with the second also destroyed on Saville Street.
Police are going house to house in the village handing out leaflets and have issued a plea for information.
“We were just sat watching a film when my husband said he could smell burning,” said Caroline (47).
“Then he opened the front door and saw bright orange flames coming from the bottom of the caravan.”
The couple dialled 999 and Chris hurried to move the couple’s car away from the flames.
“By the time I’d moved it I couldn’t get back in to the front door,” he said.
“I was shouting for Caroline to get out, some people were out of their houses and I was telling them to get away because there were gas bottles in the caravan.”
Caroline escaped to the back garden as firefighters arrived and quickly began to control both fires.
“I was lucky because the patio door was open,” she added.
“It was getting hotter and hotter inside the house and you could hear the glass from the front windows falling in.
“Whoever did it perhaps thinks it’s a prank but it’s not funny, especially if someone gets killed.”
Crews from Blidworth and Mansfield attended the incidents and were able to prevent the fires spreading .
However, both houses sustained significant damage from the intense heat.
Added Chris (33): “Luckily both of the gas bottles in our caravan were nearly empty; if they had been full there could be nothing left of the front of the house.”
The couple estimate around £3,500 damage has been caused by the fire.
Around the corner on Saville Street Lynn Donkin is also counting the cost after her caravan was set on fire on her drive moments before the Slaters’.
“At a quarter past one my neighbour banged on the window and when I opened the front door the caravan was ablaze and the back end of the car was on fire,” she said.
“Three of our windows have been blown out. I was worried about the petrol in the car catching fire.
“You can’t even put your own stuff on your own yard any more. Nothing is safe.
“I don’t know why people do things like this.”
Fire investigators examined both scenes and are satisfied both fires were started deliberately.
Said PC Amy Freeman: “These incidents are being treated as arson.
“Thankfully no-one was injured, however, these were reckless acts which could have had fatal consequences.
“I would urge anyone who knows the perpetrators or has any information to call the police immediately.”
Anyone with information should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 0300 300 9999 and ask for PC3229 Amy Freeman, or quote incident number 000059-17022011.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous, on 0800 555111.