A DAD has hit out at the arsonist who put his sleeping family at risk.

The family, including two young children, were forced to flee their property after a suspected arson attack in the early hours of yesterday.

Craig Billington rushed to wake his two young nephews ­— aged seven and ten ­— his sister, aged 18, and her partner, after his car parked on the driveway in Sandhill Close, Great Lever, was set alight with flames spreading to the house.

The fire broke out at 3.30am and fortunately Mr Billington was still up and able to raise the alarm.

The father-of-one said: "I was still up watching television, I'm not normally up at that time, the stars were aligned so I was able to save my family.

"The fire had already spread to the house and it would have spread up the property ­— by the time the smoke alarm would have gone off, it would have been tool late."

Mr Billington, who works in sales, said he got his family out through the back as the fire was raging out front.

He said he smelt burning, and went to check the kitchen and the cooker, and it was only when he looked outside he saw the flames.

"I remember smelling something and hearing popping and crackling noises. I checked the kitchen and when I looked outside instinct just kicked in.

"I went upstairs to get everyone out of the house. Within minutes of me checking the fire caught the house," said Mr Billington.

He added: "To me this is attempted murder, there were children in the house asleep, what if the car had exploded. The police told me they are treating the incident as arson with intent."

Mr Billington, who has a seven-year-old daughter who at the time was on holiday ­— described the person responsible as "disgusting".

"Whoever has done this is absolutely disgusting my family could have been burnt alive.

"This has got to be one of the most disgusting cruel cowardly acts of stupidity.

"I want the person to think what if this was their family that this was done to. I want them to close their eyes and think long and hard about that.

"I don't know if people do this not knowing what the knock on effect can be, they could kill somebody. There were kids in the house."

He added: "But everyone is luckily safe and I gave my nephews a big hug."

Mr Billington praised the actions of the firefighters, who were able to stop the fire from spreading and allow the family back in the house.

"They were brilliant, they deserve a pay rise for what they do, and more money needs to put into the police too," said Mr Billington, who appealed to anyone with information to contact police.

Crew Manager Carl Little said: “We are treating the fire as being started deliberately and spread to the porch damaging the fascia and the door.

“The car was 100 per cent damaged.”

Firefighters were due to back in the area offering reassurance and advice to neighbours.

Police said an investigation had been launched with arson being a line of enquiry.

Anyone with information should ring 101 or Crimestoppers autonomously on 0800 555 111 quoting 287/10 August 2018.