A Thornton man says he froze in horror after coming home to find flames pouring out of his house after a suspected arson attack.
Chris Gregory, 29, had been out for the evening with family when he was confronted with the nightmare scene at his house on Mill Close, off Fleetwood Road South, at around 10.30pm on Thursday December 3.
Within two or three minutes firefighters were at the scene after a neighbour called them out, but despite their valiant efforts the house was so badly damaged Chris has been unable to return since.
He has lost possessions and clothes and the incident, which occurred just days after the death of his father, has left him traumatized.
Chris Gregory at his fire damaged lounge at Mill Close in Thornton
Shockingly, it was the second suspected arson attack on the close in just a matter of weeks, after a nearby property went up in flames at 8pm on Thursday November 11
Chris says the street is in shock after the two incidents, with both the police and fire service investigating the incidents as suspected arson attacks and appealing for fresh information.
A crowdfunding page has also been set up to raise emergency funds for Chris.
Chris Gregory’s home was decimated by the blaze
He said: “I came back home and saw flames pouring out of my lounge window.
“The fire engines arrived and all I could do was just stand there, I didn’t know what to do.
“I called mum and my sister and brother and they rushed round – we were just standing in the pouring rain in tears, it was just a horrible shock.
“The thought that someone could have done this to my house deliberately makes it even worse.
Chris Gregory outside his home on Mill Close in Thornton
“I was just thankful that my two dogs weren’t in the house – they’d come out with me. They wouldn’t have stood a chance.
“I don’t think that I have been targeted personally, I think if this is deliberate like the police think, they have got the wrong address, but it’s still really frightening to think someone could be out there and has probably done this twice in our street.”
Chris, who works as an trainee supervisor in the Argos outlet inside Blackpool‘s Sainsbury store on Talbot Road, has been signed off work after the incident.
He is currently living at sister Hannah’s house in Thornton and has been told his house is unlikely to be habitable until May next year.
Chris’s older brother Matthew has set up a GoFund page to try and raise some extra funds for Chris.
Even though he has insurance, many of his personal possessions were destroyed and Chris’ family are looking to employ a professional trauma therapist which will support him mentally after his ordeal.
By Wednesday night that fund had raised more than £1,400.
Chris said of the donations: “I can’t believe how kind people have been, it has been comforting to know there are caring people out there who are prepared to help a complete stranger.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We are appealing for any relevant CCTV, ring Doorbell or dash cam footage taken between 10pm and 11pm in the area on the night.
“This includes Fleetwood Road South, Amounderness Way and the area around Norcross Roundabout.
“If you live nearby or believe you can help, please check your footage and upload it.”
If you have any information regarding the fire call 101 or visit doitonline.lancashire.police.uk, quoting log number LC-20211202-1515.
To support the crowdfunding appeal for Chris, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/p482g-help-christopher-rebuild-his-home?