Arson attack investigation

A disabled woman was left with nothing after her home was torched in an arson attack.

Saturday, 27th August 2016, 9:00 am
BLACKPOOL - 26-08-16 Kelly Thomas is angry and upset after her flat was set on fire. **not pictured outside her flat - just to illustrate**

Kelly Thomas, 52, was spending the night at her boyfriend’s house when she was awoken by a phone call from a neighbour telling her her Branstree Road home was ablaze.

Miss Thomas said: “The house has been gutted. I’ve got nothing left.”

Police and fire services later discovered that the fire had started after a mystery arsonist poured fuel through the letterbox of Miss Thomas’ ground floor flat and set it alight.

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Miss Thomas, who suffers from severe arthritis in her legs, hands and back, spent several nights sleeping in the burnt-out property before mustering up the courage to move in with boyfriend Stephen Winterburn, as she feared his housing benefits would be cut with the presence of another person at his Troutbeck Crescent home.

She said: “I have nowhere to go. I’m staying with my boyfriend right now but if I stay too long his housing benefits will be cut. I don’t think that’s fair.

“I want to ask ‘why me?’ What have I done to deserve this?

“I’ve lost everything. All I have left are a few clothes.

“Everything left inside the house is black and burned.

“We don’t even know who’s done it. They need to be found and arrested.

“If I’d been in the house at the time I could have been killed. I don’t know if it was a random attack or if someone somewhere doesn’t like me.

“I’ve been having nightmares. I’m so stressed I can’t sleep.

“There’s no way I’m going back to that property. I don’t want to know the place any more. I’m too scared.”

A police spokesman said: “At around 4.45am on August 13 an unknown offender approached the ground floor of a property and poured fuel through the letter box and set fire to it, causing extensive damage to the flat.

“The incident is still under investigation and we are appealing for witnesses.”

A fire service spokesman added: “Three fire crews from South Shore and Blackpool attended the scene at around 4.45am.

“It was feared there was someone trapped inside the property.

“When crews arrived the fire was well alight in the ground floor of the house. Firefighters used breathing apparatus and a hosereel to extinguish the fire.

“There was evidence to suggest the fire had been started deliberately.”

People who have any information about the arson attack on Branstree Road on August 13 are asked to contact police on 101 quoting the log reference number 20160813-1695.

Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at