A Teesside mum says she has 'nowhere to go' after suspected arson attack on her home

Shelley Watson has been told she can't go back in the house. Credit: Evening Gazette

A Hartlepool mum says she does not know where she is going to go after her her house was set alight in a suspected arson attack.

Shelley Watson says she heard a loud bang at the front door of her home on Sunday 26 February, and began to smell smoke.

The mum and step-mum of seven children said she believes it was started deliberately.

Cleveland Police says the fire is being treated as suspicious and enquiries are continuing.

Ms Watson was able to save treasured pictures of her late mum and daughter, and photos of her other children.

"You can replace possessions but you can't replace photos," she said, speaking after the incident.

Emergency services were called at 1:15pm with several police vehicles, ambulance vehicles and two fire engines in attendance.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the flames, which have completely destroyed the front door, and left bad scorching inside and outside of the property.

Oxford Road, a main route through the town, was taped off with red and white fire brigade tape, before a police cordon around the front of the house remained for several hours.

Ms Watson, who has lived in the rented property for about a year, was treated by an ambulance paramedic as she sat on the floor in a state of shock in Eton Street.

Ms Watson said she was glad to have saved her family photos and added she would have been "devastated if they'd gone".

Ms Watson made a dash to save precious family photos from the flames. Credit: Evening Gazette

She said: "All I could think of was getting the pictures of my kids and my mam and my niece out of the front room. They're more precious than any belongings.

"I just grabbed them all and then my partner came and shouted for me to get out the back way, so we escaped out the back."

Ms Watson said she hopes the CCTV over the road from her home is working as she has "no idea who would do this".

She added: "I've been told I can't go back in the house, I don't know where I'm going to go."

One of Ms Watson's neighbours said: "It's terrible, we just heard all the sirens.

"God knows what could have happened if she didn't get out. It's the fumes that are the most dangerous. We're just glad she's ok."

A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "We were called at 13:17pm on 26 February to a house fire on Oxford Road in Hartlepool.

"Three fire engines in attendance from Billingham and Hartlepool.

"Front door and passage destroyed by fire. Thirty percent smoke damage to remainder of property.

"One jet, two breathing apparatus and positive pressure ventilation used. No casualties involved. We left the scene at 14:22pm.

"The cause is thought to have been deliberate. Police are aware and enquiries are ongoing."

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: "Police were informed of a fire at an address on Oxford Road, Hartlepool just before 1:20pm yesterday (Sunday 26 February).

"There were no reports of any injuries and Scene of Crime Officers were tasked to attend.  The fire is currently being treated as suspicious and enquiries are ongoing.

"We would appeal for anyone with information to contact Cleveland Police on the 101 number quoting ref 037503."

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