ARSONISTS who targeted a family home have been branded “sick”.

Three adults and an 18 month-old girl were in the house in Oak Avenue, Little Lever, when the brick outhouse attached to the property was set on fire.

It was only discovered when a noise was heard outside and 19- year-old Charlotte Thompson went to look.

Steven Smith, aged 32, was at his mother Jennifer’s house with his 18-month-old daughter Summerleigh, Miss Thompson and friend of the family George Marchbank.

Mr Smith, who lives in Farnworth, said: “It is disgusting that someone can do this with a child inside the house.

“This could have been a completely different story had we been asleep. These people need to be caught.”

Mrs Smith, who was out of the house at the time of the fire, added: “The people who did this are sick in the head.

“I have osteoporosis, and had I been in bed I would not have been able to get out of the house.”

The fire was discovered by Miss Thompson after hearing noises.

“I opened the kitchen door and it was like an inferno,” she said.

Everyone fled the house and called the fire brigade.

The toilet has been badly damaged by smoke and camping equipment and other materials stored in there were destroyed in the blaze.

Mr Smith praised firefighters for their swift response which he said helped stop the fire spreading to the remainder of the property.

He said: “If anyone has any information please contact the police.”

The family are waiting to find out whether the outhouse is stable following the blaze.

Firefighters and police have now launched a joint investigation