A FAMILY were left ‘counting their lucky stars’ they were not at home after an arson attack on a rabbit hutch ‘could have left the whole street going up in flames’.
Terry Evans and Sian Matthews were left shocked upon returning to their Albert Street home in Gosport on Saturday just after 1pm to find 25 firefighters battling to put out the towering blaze that killed their pet rabbit.
The ‘opportunistic' arsonists are thought to have climbed over a back garden fence before jumping onto a shed to gain access to the garden.
The fire started after the back garden rabbit shed was set alight by the ‘sick and twisted’ criminals before towering against adjoining walls to the house and the next door neighbour’s property.
Terry, 33, who has lived at the house for eight years, said: ‘They climbed over the fence before setting the rabbit hutch on fire. It was an aggressive fire which spread and was towering above the roof. The whole street could have gone up in flames.
‘But we are counting our lucky stars because the fire did not enter the house after the back door stopped it coming in – but was on the verge of collapsing.
‘It was horrible to come home and see your house on fire knowing your whole world is inside there. We're devastated about the rabbit but just glad no-one was hurt. Our ferrets and cats managed to escape but I have no idea how the ferrets survived as fire surrounded their hutch.
‘I don’t know who would want to do this. They are sick and twisted people to do that to a defenceless rabbit. Hopefully the police catch them.’
Damage was caused to the guttering, windows, boiler and the outside supporting kitchen wall could need replacing.
Sian, 31, said: ‘At first we were told the fire was next door so it was shocking to find out it was in our house. My daughter was devastated about the rabbit.’
Next door neighbour Spencer Davies, 43, added: ‘The fire crews smashed our front door to get to the fire. It's a big shock.’
Gosport crew manager Andy Hunt said they tackled the fire between 1pm-3.30pm at the mid-terrace home.