A PENSIONER who was trapped in her own home by a suspected early morning arson attack says those responsible could have been left with her death on their conscience.
Cathy Jerry, 73, was asleep in her ground-floor flat in Flagg Court, South Shields, when the front door was set alight in the early hours of yesterday.
She woke to find thick black smoke coming into her home, and tried to use a tea towel to open the red-hot door handle, but the flames prevented her from getting out.
Her son, Michael, 47, managed to get out through the front door, but went back in when he realised his mother couldn’t get out.
He took her into the kitchen, away from the blaze, while they waited for firefighters to arrive.
Twelve firefighters from South Shields and Hebburn helped extinguish the fire. Police say inquiries into the cause are ongoing.
Ms Jerry said: “My son had been staying. I thought the smoke alarm was his alarm going off, so I went downstairs to put the kettle on.
“I saw the front door on fire and got a tea towel to open it. It is the only way out and I couldn’t get out because of the flames.
“My son was on the phone to the fire service while we stayed in the kitchen. Whoever did this could’ve had a death on their conscience.”
Mr Jerry added: “There was a bin in the middle of the passageway outside. I think they may have tried to use that to start the fire first. We both could’ve died.”
Both were unharmed in the fire.
Police are treating it as arson and are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information should call 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 145 of 10/06/14.