Landlord tells of blaze horror

Owner John Veal watches as workmen board up the house and (below) a pile of burnt clothes on the front lawn of the property.
Owner John Veal watches as workmen board up the house and (below) a pile of burnt clothes on the front lawn of the property.
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A LANDLORD has spoken of his devastation after the house he raised his family in was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

John Veal, of Maitland Avenue, Anchorsholme, watched in horror as firefighters battled the flames at his former home on nearby Cresswood Avenue.

A pile of burnt clothes on the front lawn of the property.

A pile of burnt clothes on the front lawn of the property.

He spoke to The Gazette after a Blackpool man was charged with committing arson with intent to endanger life following Saturday night’s blaze.

The accused had previously lived at the house with his girlfriend, a court was told.

One neighbour described “an explosion” as flames shot out of the house and how the drama “frightened” him “to death.”

Mr Veal, who rents out the property, said his initial fears were for children who lived in the house.

He said: “This is where my family grew up and now it’s absolutely trashed, the ceilings have come down.

“My wife won’t even come round to see the damage it’s so bad.

“My daughter’s the same, she’s crying her eyes out.

“It was still on fire when I got there. There were big red flames.”

Mr Veal says he believes the damage will run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Neighbour Connie Roberts, of Cresswood Avenue, described the “terrible” events as they unfolded.

She said: “I was watching the telly and soaking my feet when I heard some kids, and I could see all the blue lights – it was terrible.”

She added: “You don’t expect all that, it’s horrendous. It’s a right mess.”

Another eyewitness, who did not want to be named, said: “The fire was well and truly alight when I saw it.

“When I came out there was an explosion and I saw all the flames from the house, they just shot out the bottom window – it frightened me to death.”

A 40-year-old man appeared in Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, yesterday, charged with committing arson with intent to endanger life yesterday.

He was also charged with breaching a restraining order.

The man was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Preston Crown court on September 20.

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