Young couple 'lucky to be alive' after skip lorry ploughs into Sheffield home before being set alight

A young couple are 'lucky to be alive' after a skip lorry was deliberately reversed into their Sheffield home and set alight.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 7:08 pm

Neighbours this morning told of their horror at the arson attack on Shirehall Road in Shiregreen which happened yesterday evening, at around 7.30pm.

One woman told how she ran outside after hearing an almighty crash, and she said the woman living there had run into the back of the house and shut herself in.

She said a young couple believed to be in their 20s had lived in the house for some time, but it is thought only the woman was inside at the time.

A skip lorry which was deliberately driven into a house and torched in Shirehall Road, Shiregreen

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The neighbour told how as she ran towards the house she saw the occupants of the lorry jump into a car and speed off – hitting a parked car, which they shunted into another vehicle, as they did so.

"I ran out to see if there was anybody in the house, and the woman who lives there had shut herself in the back," said the neighbour, who asked not to be named.

"The people in the skip lorry got out and jumped into what appeared to be a Land Rover or some other 4X4, with no number plate.

The aftermath of the attack on Shirehall Road, in Shiregreen

"It looked like they deliberately drove into the neighbour's car as they sped off.

"It was terrifying. The couple who live there are lucky to be alive. I'm just glad no one was hurt, but they've lost their home, which is awful. It's hideous."

She told how the neighbouring properties had been evacuated due to concerns about structural safety and the gas supply.

And she said everyone was stunned that something like this has happened in what is normally a quiet area.

Damage to a house on Beck Road in Shiregreen after a van reportedly crash into the front of the property in April

"Despite its reputation it's a pretty quiet neighbourhood. It's the kind of place where everyone does know each other," she said.

"We've been here over 15 years and there's never been anything like this before."

Another neighbour said: "It's quite frightening but it's a big relief that nobody's been injured.

"Everyone's terrified. The fire was huge. The flames went up to the second story, but luckily they were able to put it out very quickly."

A skip lorry on fire after deliberately being driven in to a house on Shirehall Road, in Shiregreen, and set alight

The house was this morning fenced off, with the front window crumpled in, brickwork ripped from the facade and the twisted wreckage of the gate lying in the front yard. The blackened pavement was covered with the charred remains of the blaze, which firefighters were able to prevent spreading to the property.

South Yorkshire Police today said the incident is being treated as a ‘targeted act’.

It told how the occupants of the lorry are believed to have fled the scene in another vehicle which was then involved in a collision on nearby Beck Road, in which at least two vehicles are known to have been hit.

It has been suggested locally that the attack was part of a feud between warring families or gangs, and police said they are ‘exploring this possibility’.

It is not known how many people were in the skip lorry but police have said it is believed there were more than one, and they are all thought to have been men.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 801 of October 21.