A family’s home could have been seconds from a catastrophic gas explosion after arsonists caused a blaze that quickly spread.
A Vauxhall Zafira car and wheelie bins were torched outside a semi detached house on Sheffield Drive, Lea, Preston, just after midnight on Monday.
The flames spread and were at risk of engulfing a gas meter box on the property.
The young family managed to get out of the house without being injured.
A 999 call was made from a mobile phone at 12.36am and emergency crews attended the scene, opposite a large field.
British Gas engineers were called out to the scene and were able to isolate the gas supply as firefighters and breathing apparatus tackled the blaze.
Today Det Sgt Oliver Jemson, of Preston CID, said detectives were treating the blaze as an arson.
He said: “ An investigation has been launched.”
It is understood there were children in the house at the time.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Resuce service confirmed its investigators are treating it as suspicious.
He said: “Two Preston crews were sent out.The car was on fire on the driveway and heat and flames were threatening to engulf the gas meter box.
“Firefighters wore breathing apparatus to get close enough to put the fire out and to make certain there were no remaining hot spots a thermal imaging camera was used.”
Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.