THREE people had to flee from their flats in the early hours of Sunday morning (August 21) after an arson attack.

THREE people had to flee from their flats in the early hours of Sunday morning (August 21) after an arson attack.

Firefighters were called the property in Little Whyte, Ramsey, at about 2.30am after the alarm was raised by neighbours who heard a loud bang - like a firework going off - and went to investigate.

An arsonist had torched a red Citroen AX that had been parked on the driveway of a property, split into two flats, just a few feet away from the front door to the homes.

The flames spread to the two-storey building, causing the tenants - including Manuel Costa who said had been asleep - to flee. All three escaped uninjured, and a police investigation has begun to try to find the person behind the attack.

A police spokesman said: "The car was close to a building and two flats were damaged by the fire. The flats were evacuated while fire crews attended the scene."

She added: "We have launched an investigation into this fire, which we are treating as deliberate. House-to-house enquiries will be carried out, and we are looking at the potential for forensics."

Ramsey's deputy mayor Councillor Ian Curtis, who lives in Little Whyte, said: "This is a very serious incident, which has caused a lot of concern to people in the area - particularly the elderly.

"It's frightening that someone would go to these lengths to avenge someone - it doesn't matter what they've done. Somebody could've been very seriously hurt on Sunday - luckily they weren't."

An eyewitness told The Hunts Post she had been watching TV when she heard a loud bang, rushed outside to see a car in flames and immediately alerted the emergency services.

A fire victim support vehicle went to the scene to help the occupants find alternative accommodation until the building is made safe enough for their return.

Phil Thacker, crew manager at Ramsey fire station, said: "Because the car was so close to the front of the building, this fire was especially dangerous. Any fire is unpredictable, but when a fire is started this close to a building it can put lives at risk."

INFORMATION: Anyone with information on the attack should contact Cambridgeshire police on 0345 456 4564, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111, or log onto www.crimestoppers-uk.org