A YOUNG mum trapped with her partner and their baby in a Sheffield flat by an arson blaze admitted today: “I thought we were gonners”.
The arsonist who set fire to a pile of rubbish outside their home was heard shouting “I’m going to burn you out”, before starting the blaze.
Michaela Lee, her partner Anthony Wilson, both aged 22, and their nine-month-old baby Ebony were trapped in their home on Oxspring Bank, Owlerton, when the fire was started on the landing outside their door - blocking the only way out of their flat. The young couple were faced with a wall of flames and thick smoke, trapping them inside, when they tried to escape after their smoke alarm started sounding.
Michaela said: “I thought we were gonners - the door where the fire started was our only way in and out.
“We live on the third floor of a block - it is too high to jump so we were trapped with no way out.
“When you are standing there with a baby in your arms at a high window with fire burning at your only escape route you think the worst.” Anthony alerted the
emergency services while Michaela stood by an open window with her daughter in her arms, hoping the flames would not breach the front door and spread through their home.
She said she was terrified and feared for her young daughter’s life.
And she will not now return to the property after a neighbour told her the arsonist was heard shouting ‘I’m going to kill you all - I’m going to burn you out.’
The neighbour, who said they did not take the threat seriously, said: “I heard the threat being made. He shouted it, so this needs to be treated as attempted murder, he obviously intended to do it.
“I heard the words ‘I’m going to kill you all, I’m going to burn you out’ but didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
She said her partner braved heat and smoke to try to pour water over the flames but was beaten back.
“I am so thankful for the firemen for responding so quickly to our call because this could easily have been fatal if they had not arrived when they did,” said Michaela.
She said the blaze was the latest in a long list of incidents she has suffered, including strangers calling at her door making threats of violence, verbal abuse on the street and being threatened with vicious dogs.
A spokesman for Guinness Northern Counties, landlord of the flats, said: “We were very concerned to hear of this serious incident and are providing full support to the police in their investigations.
“Because of the ongoing inquiry involving a neighbour at the same property we are prevented from commenting further.
“Staff from both our Neighbourhood Team and Anti-social Behaviour Team have been working with Ms Lee for some time to resolve a long-standing neighbour dispute, which may or may not prove to be connected to this incident.
“We are working with her to ensure that she and her family are at no further risk and will take all appropriate action within our powers against anyone found guilty of this serious criminal act.”
A man aged 23 and a boy, 15, have been arrested by police and are on bail.
n Anyone with information should call 0114 220 2020 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.