TWO caravans have been destroyed in a fire after a suspected arson attack.
The vehicles were parked side by side on private land in Towpath Mead, in Eastney, Portsmouth.
They are believed to have been set alight at about 6am yesterday morning.
One was completely engulfed by flames and reduced to charred wreckage, while the other was also very badly damaged.
Neighbours have spoken of their shock as the caravans’ tyres exploded and a huge fireball threatened to damage their cars.
Lorraine McLeod owns the double driveway which her neighbour’s caravans were both parked on and lives in Towpath Mead next door.
‘We rushed to move the cars out of the way,’ she said.
‘The fire was right next to them and I was worried they could catch.
‘It was very hot and scary to be so close.
‘It was really roasting and there’s hardly anything left of the caravans.
‘One of them has only been here a couple of weeks, though the other hasn’t moved in quite a while.’
Also living nearby in Towpath Mead Derek Bond, 55, said he didn’t think the caravans should have been parked in a residential area.
‘My daughter lives just next door,’ he said. ‘And she was woken by the fire and explosions.
‘They have two more caravans over there as well.
‘They need to move them out of residential areas, otherwise they are like ticking time bombs.’
Southsea firefighters were called to the road at just after 6am and it took eight firefighters around 30 minutes to put out the fire.
They have now handed the case over to Hampshire Constabulary who are investigating it as a suspected arson.
Det Con Andy Holt said: ‘Investigators are still working to find out how it started.
‘The fire wasn’t too serious, but the danger with caravan fires is always if there are gas canisters inside which can go up.’
Anyone with any further information is asked to contact Det Con Holt by calling 101 or witnesses can also call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.