A FAMILY of seven fled their Viewpark home after a late night fire attack.
Mum of five Amanda McGuire said her children were ‘petrified’ as flames from their garage threatened to spread to the house in West Avenue.
They shivered outside in their pyjamas as firefighters battled the blaze on Sunday night.
Fortunately, no one was injured and, while the garden garage was destroyed, there was only minor damage to the house.
However, Ms McGuire said her children are now terrified of going to bed at night.
She and her partner, Alan MacDonald, were having supper when the fire started shortly after 11pm.
Chloe (14), Jodi (12), Sophi (9), Abbi (8) and six-year-old Jay were all in bed upstairs.
Ms McGuire said: “The children, except Abbi, were still awake.
“We saw a flash in the gap between the living room curtains and the next thing the children were screaming and running downstairs.
“I thought the fire was upstairs as the house was lit up. Flames were hitting the windows which were cracking.
“We all got out the front door and by this time the fire brigade had arrived. They had got calls from a few neighbours.
“It was freezing and the children were out in their nightclothes. They were petrified.
“The flames were higher than the the house itself and parts of the roof melted.
“A lot of stuff, including a couch, had been left in the garden after Christmas to be collected by the council. We’re lucky the fire didn’t spread to that and then the house.
“It’s also lucky it didn’t start any later when we were all in bed sleeping.”
Police are treating it as wilful fireraising and Ms McGuire said: “One of the children said she heard a voice saying ‘Run’ just before it happened.
“We also know that someone set fire to bins next to a shop along the road five minutes earlier.
“But how could someone start a fire like this when you can see from the bikes in the garden that it’s a house full of kids?
“The children are traumatised. They don’t want to go to bed because they are scared whoever did this will come back and set the house on fire.”
The fire destroyed the children’s trampoline in the garden, but luckily there was nothing of great value in the garage.
Police say a suspect was wearing a two-tone grey waterproof jacket and have asked witnesses to call 202400.