Councillor in suspected arson attack

A councillor says she and her family were lucky to be alive after a suspected arson attack at their home in Norwich. Judith Lubbock, her husband Nigel and daughter Anna, 22, escaped after fire tore through the house in Unthank Road.

A councillor says she and her family were lucky to be alive after a suspected arson attack at their home in Norwich.

Judith Lubbock, her husband Nigel and daughter Anna, 22, escaped after fire tore through the house in Unthank Road in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mrs Lubbock, a Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton ward, said: “We were all asleep in bed at about 1am. The fire started downstairs in our hallway and it got a hold very quickly.

“The first we knew was when the burglar alarm started ringing along with our doorbell, which must have been shorting. We thought someone was at the door.

“When we opened the bedroom door we were met by thick, acrid smoke at the top of the stairs. We called to our daughter and she came on to the landing.

“My husband went downstairs to see where the fire was coming from. He inhaled some smoke but managed to get out of the back door, sustaining some bad cuts to his hand.

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“It was terrifying. My daughter got out through the bedroom window but there was so much smoke I couldn't even find the window. She broke a window for me and we climbed on to the top of the bay window below.

“Our neighbour called the fire brigade and got us down with a ladder. The firemen reckoned we were a couple of minutes from being three corpses.”

Mr and Mrs Lubbock and Anna were all taken to hospital by ambulance and treated for smoke inhalation.

The family's cat, Lucy, died in the fire, which caused extensive damage to the 1920s detached house.

“We've lost many personal possessions but it could have been far worse in terms of our personal safety. We're very grateful to our friends and neighbours,” said Mrs Lubbock, a councillor since 1995.

Fire crews from Sprowston and Earlham used breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze, and police are investi-gating the fire as suspected arson.

Mrs Lubbock said she was not aware of anyone with a grudge against the family. “We don't thing it was anything personal towards us - we think it was more random.”

Last night charred wood and leaflets could be seen outside the house. The front door and several windows were boarded up, while others were blackened by smoke.

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