Brampton family saved by fire crew as arsonists target thatched homes

Vhari Russell with her daughters (from l-r) Grace, Emily and Olivia. Vhari Russell with her daughters (from l-r) Grace, Emily and Olivia.

Thursday, August 21, 2014
5:14 PM

A mother-of-three has told how she and her family were woken by firefighters after arsonists set fire to her home’s thatched roof.

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Vhari Russell, of West End Road in Brampton, said the fire, one of five attacks in the early hours of Thursday, was spotted just after 1am by firefighters from Sawtry as they were on their way to attend another call at a thatched property.

“I can’t even begin to see why anyone would want to set fire to someone’s house,” Mrs Russell told The Hunts Post. “The ramifications of their funny prank were that five people could have lost their homes and even their families.”

Mrs Russell, 36, said she was trying not to think about what would have happened if the fire crew had not been passing.

She added: “I woke up to find a fire engine just outside the back window. It was extremely lucky because they spotted it as they were on the way to another fire. They were remarkable, they wouldn’t leave until they were sure the fire was completely out. If they hadn’t seen the fire, it would be a very different story.”

Mrs Russell and husband, Pete, were told to evacuate the property along with daughters Emily, 8, Grace, 4, and two-year-old Olivia as the fire crew extinguished the blaze.

Firefighters from around Cambridgeshire were out until 2.23am this morning after five thatched cottages were set alight – four in Brampton and one in Offord Cluny.

Detective Sergeant Iain Moor said: “Luckily these fires were caught early and were extinguished without causing major damage but it goes without saying they could have been a lot more serious.

“I would urge anyone with any information about who is responsible to contact police.”

INFORMATION: Anyone who can help police with inquiries should contact Det Sgt Moor on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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