A Bristol family has been left ranging after a deliberate fire was lit outside their two-year-old son’s ground floor bedroom as he slept.
Wioleta Adriana, 39, awoke to the sounds of her neighbour frantically banging on her flat door as a bellowing fire wrapped around her son’s bedroom window in the early hours of Sunday morning (June,13).
She said she immediately began to panic as she desperately tried to wake the sleeping toddler.
“I was so scared for my baby and I just kept on shaking him to wake up,” she added.
Traumatised by the ordeal, she contacted her partner Brian Howells who was stunned by what he saw when he arrived at the Victoria Parade property in Easton.
He said: “I was just raging and very angry – we’ve got no enemies so who could do such a vile act?
Mr Howells said he was grateful the windows were not open because if it had been five more minutes he could have lost his whole family.
The couple, who have been together for eight years, said they have never experienced something so distressing, and if it wasn’t for the bravery of their neighbours the incident could have ended in fatalities.
Mr Howells said: “It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever had to deal with, we were both very distraught and I was out of my comfort zone.
“We cannot thank the street enough, they were in and out throwing water until the emergency services arrived.
“They really pulled all the strings to help my family.”
The 40-year-old believes the national lockdown has caused people to express themselves in ways that may or not be within their character.
He said that antisocial behaviour has gotten worse in the neighbourhood, with reports that more fires were ignited on both Devon and Whitehall Road, neighbouring streets close to Ms Adriana’s home.
The mother-of-two said it was thanks to her quick thinking neighbour, who lives above her flat, that she was able to quickly vacate the property with her two children.
The pair are now considering looking for a home elsewhere for the safety of their young family.
Ms Adriana said the incident has left her shaken and she now experiences aches and pains across her chest and ribs.
“The toxins were passing through my home as we slept but I am grateful my amazing neighbours rescued us and looked after my boys,” she said.
A spokesperson from Avon and Somerset police said: “In the early hours of Sunday morning (June 13) we were made aware of two incidents the fire service was dealing with in the Redfield area of Bristol.
“The first involved a bin fire in Avonvale Road at about 3.45am.
“While at the scene we were made aware by firefighters of a second fire in the front garden of a property in Victoria Parade that happened at about 3.50am.
“The neighbourhood team has been made aware of the incidents.”
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to report it online, or via 101, giving reference numbers 5221131271 and 5221131273 respectively.
Avon Fire and Rescue Services said the fires were believed to be a deliberate ignition
Crews from Kingswood discovered a rubbish fire affecting the property’s downpipe in the front garden of a property on Victoria Parade at 3.37am on Sunday, June 13.
Just 10 minutes later crews from Temple responded to reports of a rubbish fire on Avonvale Road where firefighters found one wheelie bin and two recycling boxes set alight.
Public safety advice
Avon Fire and Rescue Service advises the public to remain vigilant, and follow fire safety advice.
Rubbish is a ready source of fuel for an arsonist, so fires involving rubbish can quickly spread to nearby homes and buildings putting lives at risk.
Never store rubbish, or anything that can catch alight, in corridors, stairwells, near escape routes or near to your property
Keep communal bin stores secure and well lit
Don’t overload skips and get them removed when full
Report any suspicious behaviour to the police. Remember to call 999 in an emergency, and 101 to report anything else. If you discover a fire, get yourself to a safe space and call 999. Do not attempt to tackle the fire, even if it is outside.