A MAN was rescued from his flat by firefighters after a burning wheelie bin was pushed against his back door in a suspected arson attack.
The 53-year-old victim was trapped inside his bedroom at the flat on the corner of Lowedges Road and Boland Road, in Lowedges, Sheffield, after the blaze broke out at around 3.15am yesterday.
The man dialled 999 after his smoke alarm was set off, and firefighters spent almost 90 minutes at the flat giving the man survival advice as they battled through thick smoke before bringing him to safety.
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said the fire caused “considerable damage” to the house, and she confirmed officers are treating the incident as suspicious.
“Initial inquiries suggest a wheelie bin had been set on fire near the door of the property,” she added.
Police said the man escaped without injury.
The incident has echoes of a blaze five years ago which killed a family on nearby Batemoor Walk, Batemoor, when a burning wheelie bin which was pushed against their door.
Anthony Brightmore, 68, his wife Patricia, 65, and their blind son Stephen, 35, died in the blaze after being trapped inside their house.
Today a fire spokesman said: “Deliberate fires, such as wheelie bin fires, can quickly escalate, spreading to property and becoming life-threatening.
“Had it not been for the quick response of our crews, who arrived on the scene in under three minutes, the consequences of this particular incident could have been even more serious.”
Yesterday the house was cordoned off as police spoke to neighbours and searched the flat.
Fire investigators tried to uncover the cause of the fire, which spread from the kitchen.
Extensive smoke damage could be seen around the first-floor window, and other windows were covered in thick dust and soot.
Alison Macdougall, aged 44, who lives nextdoor to the flat, said she was woken by the smell of burning.
“I went outside and I could see the fire outside his door,” she said. “At first I thought it was something burning downstairs at my house. I was worried about the man inside who has only lived there for around a year.”
Rosemary Sorby, 69, said she was also woken by flashing lights from the fire engines.
Anyone with information about the fire should call police on 0114 2202020, quoting incident number 170 of May 2.