TEENAGE tearaways set an elderly man's bedroom alight after throwing fireworks through a window.
As he returned to his home in Slaidburn Drive, Accrington, Oliver Rowley, 62, saw smoke coming from his ground-floor flat and rushed inside to try and douse the flames.
Neighbours raised the alarm at 7.27pm and firefighters spent an hour putting out the blaze while Mr Rowley was given oxygen at the scene.
Speaking to the Observer, he said he had been visiting a friend in Blackburn during the day and after he saw smoke flowing out of his flat he rushed inside and tried to tackle the blaze with a bucket of water.
He said his clothes which had been set alight were completely destroyed and his bedroom wall was covered in soot and smelled heavily of smoke.
Tony Spencer, watch manager at Accrington Fire Station, who attended the incident on Tuesday 25 October, said: "It is extremely fortunate that the occupant wasn't at home at the time. While not a particularly big fire, it could have been a lot worse, especially if Mr Rowley had been in the flat."
The air bomb-style fireworks started two separate fires as they fired around the room, one on a pile of clothes on the floor and another on top of a wooden cabinet.
Sergeant Bob Eaton, of Accrington Police, said: "We are reasonably satisfied with our success in reducing the volume of firework nuisance this year but we still have work to do on some of our more serious incidents, of which this is one.
"I want to be quite clear that this is an incident of arson, not a firework offence. Any kids involved in incidents like this could find themselves in court for an offence which carries a much higher degree of punishment."
A youth has been charged and bailed pending further investigations. Anyone with information should call Community Beat Manager, Mick Walsh, on 353103.
- IN a separate incident in Clayton-le-Moors, a grandmother was left with facial injuries following a firework attack.
Mavis Taylor, 64, of Whalley Road, was walking to a shop near her house when three teenagers walked past her and dropped a lighted firework into her handbag.
Mrs Taylor, said: "I didn't know they'd put it in my bag until I heard a big bang and was knocked to the floor.
"They just laughed when I walked past and now I'm frightened to death."
Mrs Taylor, who lives with her husband, Peter, 63, has grazes to her forehead and nose and a cut above her left eye which are still causing her pain.
She added: "I don't want to go out when it's dark. I went out the other evening and my friend had to walk me safely home."
Mr Taylor expressed his anger at the attack on his wife.
He said: "Communities aren't safe any more, youngsters nowadays have no respect."
He added: "There were fireworks going off all night on Saturday, scaring people and keeping us awake until 5.30am."