A MAN has been left terrified after arsonists set fire to a wheelie bin and pushed it against his front door.

James Williams, aged 62, and a 37-year-old friend had to be rescued by firefighters from an upstairs flat in Emmanuel Place, Daubhill, on Sunday morning.

The fire blocked their only escape route.

Mr Williams said: “I am really scared. I feel lucky to be alive when you think what could have happened.

“It burned the fuse box so we could not see anything and it was filling up with smoke.

“I have come back because I can’t leave my dog, but I feel nervous and frightened being back.

“If it had been a few minutes longer it could have been different. ”

A 65-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, lives next door.

She had to jump out of her groundfloor bedroom window and was taken to hospital.

She said: “I had to get out through the window, it is so small and I hurt my leg.

“I don’t understand why someone would do this?

We could have died.”

A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and has been bailed.

Firefighters have been advising residents, reminding them to take bins back in after collection and to store them away from doors and windows.

Central fire station manager Steve Parkinson said: “It is incredibly lucky the property was fitted with smoke alarms.

“Undoubtedly they will have saved the lives of these three people.

“The fact our crews had to rescue people from their own homes is a chilling reminder of just how serious wheelie-bin fires can be. More than 250 homes in the area have been targeted by a leaflet drop reminding people to take care with their bins and our crews will go back to carry out home safety checks in the area and fit smoke alarms where necessary.”

The blaze was one of four wheelie bin fires over the weekend