A PROBE has been launched after a blaze in an arson hotspot in Burnley.

Firefighters were called to tackle the fire, which took hold in an outhouse in St Cuthbert Street, at around midnight yesterday.

It was the second blaze at the address in a week, leading investigators to believe there is ‘a targeted campaign’ in the area.

The homeowner, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, also had one of his windows smashed by yobs.

The 63-year-old escaped the blaze after neighbours banged on his door, waking him up.

He said: “I think it was kids who thought the house was empty. If I had been asleep upstairs I’m not sure the neighbours would have woken me up.”

The small brick outhouse is attached to the man’s kitchen, and a vent between the two allowed smoke to fill the end terrace home.

A fire service spokesman said: “Two fire engines attended the scene and found the outhouse was well alight. The whole house was also smoke-logged.

“The man had been evacuated by neighbours who had woken him up banging on the door after noticing the fire. He was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital for a check-up.

“We are treating the fire as deliberate, and the property had also been targeted on June 19, at around 6.35pm, when paper was set on fire inside the outhouse.

“We believe this is a targeted campaign, and we are taking it very seriously because these fires can spread and have fatal consequences.”

In April, ‘young idiots’ were blasted for wrecking play equipment on Rakeshead Recreation Ground, just yards away from the outhouse.

The fire service has been called to St Cuthbert Street in the past to deal with small, nuisance fires.

Det Sgt Alisa Wilson, of Burnley CID, said: “The offenders may have smelt of smoke on their return home last night or may have discussed the fire with friends. People in the community may know who has been loitering around this property in recent months and I would urge them to make contact.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.