ARSONISTS who pushed wheelie bins against unsuspecting victims’ homes before setting fire to them struck four times across Bolton this weekend.
The fire service warned that the arsonists are putting lives at risk after the separate incidents in less than 24 hours.
In one incident, a bin was pushed underneath a two-year-old girl’s bedroom window, while in another two people were trapped inside their flat.
The attack on the house where the girl was sleeping happened at about 6.45am on Saturday.
A bin was set on fire and pushed up against the wall of the family’s home in Bradshaw Brow, Bradshaw.
The girl’s father, Stuart Sanders-Hole, aged 31, is now calling for a secure area to store the bins. He said: “I’m not very happy, to say the least. The blazing bin was outside her window, at the front.
“I heard her wake up and that’s when somebody knocked on the door and told me.”
A passer-by had spotted thefire and he phoned the fire service before any serious damage was caused.
Mr Sanders-Hole has only lived in the terraced house with his daughter and pregnant partner for two months.
The only place to store the bins is at the side of the house — on view to passers-by.
He now wants a secure area at the back.
He said: “We have nowhere to put them. I am going to have to ring the council to find out if they can build something here.”
At 2.50am on Sunday, firefighters had to rescue a man and a woman from their flat in Emmanuel Place, Daubhill, after a wheelie bin was set on fire next to their front door.
The blaze blocked the only route of escape for the 65-year-old man and 37-year-old woman.
Karsten Boyle, watch commander at Bolton Central fire station, said: “It was a neighbour who alerted us to the fire.
“Given the time of the morning, it was lucky that it was spotted at that particular stage.”
The pair were treated at the scene by paramedics but are not thought to have been seriously injured.
Neighbours on either side of the flat had to be evacuated.
Mr Boyle said: “A wheelie bin placed deliberately in front of a front door and set alight, with deliberate intent to make escape difficult, is a serious Crime .”
Speaking of the problem of wheelie bin arson attacks, he added: “It has happened before in the Bolton area and we are heavily campaigning, asking people to keep wheelie bins as far away from properties as possible.”
A third bin was set alight on Saturday at 2.15am in Back Lever Street, Great Lever.
A fire service spokesman said: “A wheelie bin had been pushed up against a gate in the back street.”
He advised that residents should bring their bins back into their yards to keep them secure after they have been emptied.
And at 7.10am on Saturday, firefighters were called to Centre Park Road, Halliwell , where fourth wheelie bin had been set alight and pushed in front of the door of an unoccupied house.
The fire spread to the front porch of the empty detached building, which is currently for sale, causing smoke damage inside.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the four blazes but said there was nothing to suggest they are linked.
The fires are a chilling reminder of the 2008 tragedy in Little Holme Walk, Great Lever.
Alana Mian, aged four, and her 71-year-old grandmother, Hameeda Begum, died after a bin was set alight outside the door of Mrs Begum’s home.
Anyone with information on the latest incidents can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.