VIDEO: Leeds family in fear after three arson attacks at empty house

A DAD from Crossgates in east Leeds is calling on council chiefs to take action after a neighbouring empty house on Orchard Road was targeted by arsonists for the third time in three weeks.

Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 3:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 5:06 pm
Dom Hodgson outside the empty house attached to his home on Orchard Road, Crossgates.

Dom Hodgson, of 35 Orchard Road, said the latest arson attack at number 33 just after 7pm last Wednesday saw smoke seeping through into the semi-detached house where he lives with his wife Heather and 11-month-old baby daughter Scarlett.

A neighbour videoed last week’s blaze when flames leapt from the roof of number 33.

Mr Hodgson, 30, said youths regularly break into the property, which has been empty for two-and-a-half-years. And he has had infestations of rats in is home due to rubbish being fly tipped next door.

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Dom Hodgson outside the empty house attached to his home on Orchard Road, Crossgates.

Mr Hodgson said: “It’s terrifying, every time you leave the house you don’t know what’s going to happen. Leeds City Council need to do something about this house, it’s a hazard.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman, said: “Having been made aware of a fire last week, members of the council’s housing team made a site inspection and arranged for the adjoining home to be boarded up.

“An assessment is also being made regarding issues which have been raised regarding the condition of the property and the leaving of rubbish in the garden.

“Given that this property is private, we are currently in discussions with the owner to find a long-term solution moving forward to help ensure the property is not left empty for a long period.

Dom Hodgson outside the empty house attached to his home on Orchard Road, Crossgates.

“We have also written to Mr Hodgson to inform him of the current situation and asked he contact us as soon as possible if the material condition of the property next door is impacting in anyway negatively on his own home.”

Sergeant Jon McNiff, of West Yorkshire Police said: “The fire last Wednesday is being treated as arson. Two white males, aged 15 to 16, one wearing a grey hoody, were seen near the premises at the time and we would like to hear from anyone who has any information that could assist the investigation.

“We are aware that this property has stood empty for some time now and that there have been a number of previous incidents where local youths have entered the house and caused damaged and set fires. We recognise the understandable concern that these incidents have caused to the people in the neighbouring property and to other residents in the area.

“We have worked with the council to have the property secured on this and previous occasions and we will continue to patrol the area and monitor the situation until a longer-term solution can be found.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police via 101, quoting crime number 13170039338. Or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.