Street of fire: Family feared for life

Residents in a normally quiet street woke up to a blaze right outside their front doors after a van was engulfed in a fireball in the early hours.

The incident, which is being treated as wilful fire raising, happened in Hillhead Avenue, Banknock at just before 1.30am on Sunday.

The aftermath of a vehicle fire in Hillhead Avenue, Banknock

The aftermath of a vehicle fire in Hillhead Avenue, Banknock

One resident, who lost both her cars as a result of the fire, feared for her family’s lives when the flames continued to spread to the path outside their home and their escape was blocked.

The householder, who did not want to be named, said: “My dog started barking at around 1.30am and kept barking. Then I heard a big pop like a firework and when I opened my curtains my bedroom was glowing orange and you could feel the heat from the flames – it was just horrific.

“I woke up my husband and daughter and said I’m going to get the keys for our cars. It took 20 seconds to get the keys and I could hear my daughter screaming ‘your cars are on fire’.

“It’s horrific when you open your front door and see your way out is on fire. The phone lines were burned out so we called the fire service on the mobile phone and they told us we needed to try and get out the house through the back door.

“We couldn’t see because of the smoke and the ash as we walked round the corner. Then the fire service arrived and the police as well. The firefighters were absolutely fantastic and we got superb support from them, coming back in the house afterwards and checking things out to give us peace of mind.”

Both the resident’s cars, a Nissan Almera and Toyota Hilux Invincible, were, like the van, completely destroyed by the blaze.”

There were fears the fire, which also burned a neighbouring householders hedge, could have spread further along the street and into houses if the Fire and Rescue Service had not extinguished it so quickly.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police in Forth Valley are investigating following a report of wilful fire-raising in the Hillhead Avenue area of Bonnybridge.

“The incident happened at around 1.25am on Sunday 12 November when a white van was set on fire.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended and quickly extinguished the flames. No-one was injured as a result and enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Stirling Police Station via 101, quoting incident number 0349 of 12 November.”