A young Syrian family was forced to flee their home in Liverpool after being fire-bombed last weekend in the middle of the night.
The family-of-five escaped from their burning property at around 4am last Sunday morning when accelerant, believed to be petrol, was pushed through their front door letterbox and set alight.
Neighbours rushed to help after a smoke alarm was activated and flames could be seen shooting from the doorway.
They said the Syrian man and his pregnant wife who lived there with three children, aged five, three and two, had managed to get out of the house and were in the garden and were suffering from the effects of smoke.
One neighbour said: “They’ve told me how they had a really bad time in Syria, and they can’t believe they’ve nearly been killed here, in Merseyside.”
Another resident added: “They’re a lovely family, the husband is trying to learn English, and their three children are beautiful. They make a real effort – the children play with ours in the street.”
Police say they are keeping an open mind about the reason for the attack on the semi-detached house in St Helens. Neighbours fear it was racially motivated, however.
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Detective Inspector Louise Birchall said: “The occupants of this home, a Syrian family with three young children, were thankfully not more seriously hurt. The swift response from the emergency services ensured that everyone was brought to safety.
“I am sure that the community will be appalled that an innocent family would be subjected to such a frightening attack in their own home, and we will be relentless in identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice.”