Young Sidmouth family’s arson heartache

Van torched by heartless criminals

A DEVASTATED young Sidmouth family watched their livelihood go up in smoke when an arsonist torched their van.

Shocked Keiran Fayter-Small, partner Nicola Curtis and newborn baby daughter Izabell, got a wake-up call from hell as the vehicle was engulfed in flames outside their Vicarage Road home in the early hours of Monday morning.

Self-employed bricklayer Keiran, 24, could only look on helplessly as the fireball gutted the Ford Transit he’d taken out a loan to buy – and wrecked his uninsured tools inside.

It was the second time in 10 days that a vehicle was destroyed in an arson attack in Sidmouth.

“Knocking off wing mirrors is one thing, but actually setting light to vehicles is unbelievable. It’s disgraceful,” said Keiran.

“I lost all my tools that I’d had since I was 16. I’ve only just gone self-employed and was just starting to get jobs. I work all the hours under the sun to support my family. Now I’ll have to start again.”

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“We’re both shocked someone in Sidmouth would want to do this,” added Nicola, 19.

“We’re absolutely devastated. The van was also acting as our family car.

“Like any young family trying to set ourselves up, money was already tight. This has caused a major set back for us financially.”

The terrified family only became aware of the inferno and called 999 when seven-week old Izabell started crying at 2.30am as the van burned noisily out of control.

Flames spread to a hedge outside their front door.

“We can honestly say that if it wasn’t for our baby girl we wouldn’t have woken up in time to stop the fire from spreading,” said Nicola.

“I was terrified as we watched the flames get bigger.”

The culprit ignored ‘baby on board’ signs before setting the van alight.

Neighbours had earlier heard voices and banging and saw two males fleeing the area, said Nicola.

“We just hope this doesn’t happen to anybody else. These people need to be stopped before they hurt somebody,” she added.

Firefighters tackled flames in five minutes.

Watch manager Sean Faulkner said it was lucky no other vehicles were parked nearby.

He warned anyone involved in a car blaze incident to keep away from the vehicle and to wait for the fire service to arrive.

Police are investigating an act of arson.

Sergeant Andy Turner said: “It’s unusual to have two similar incidents in such a short space of time.”

He urged residents to dial 999 immediately if they see suspicious behaviour.

Contact police with information by dialling 101, crime reference: KS/11/569.