A LORRY driver was left distraught after a suspected arson attack gutted his home.

Sean Twomey, whose home in Lightbown Street, Darwen, suffered extensive damage, appeared visibly distressed at the scene yesterday morning.

He said: “I don’t have a home anymore. It looks like the fire’s gone right through.”

Neighbouring houses were evacuated as the property became engulfed in flames on Saturday night and fire crews were at the scene until 1.30am yesterday ((SUN)). No-one was hurt.

Police have launched an investigation and arrested a 25-year-old man.

Mr Twomey had been in the nearby Prince of Wales pub, in Quaker Lane, when a neighbour ran in and said his semi-detached house was in flames just after 11pm on Saturday.

And after watching three fire crews battle the blaze and stop it spreading to neighbouring properties, he was taken in by kind-hearted neighbour Peter Harrison, who said: “I’m heartbroken for the guy. Also, there was a family who were in next door and it could have killed them.”

The 42-year-old engineer added: “Sean was in the pub and when someone ran in and told him he thought they were joking at first, but then he came back and saw it all. I’ve got a spare room so he’s staying with me at the moment.”

Mr Twomey, an Irishman, thought the fire had started in the kitchen, but fire crews would not confirm this yesterday.

Watch manager Tony Keane said: “We sent in six officers with breathing apparatus to fight the flames and they managed to get it under control but a large amount of the ground floor has been damaged by fire and pretty much all of the building is smoke damaged.”

Next door neighbour Dariusz Junker, 40, who works for Precision Polymer Engineering in Blackburn, said: “I was watching TV and the first thing I heard was a smoke alarm going off.

“I went outside to check what was happening and saw the main alarm was going off too, and then a lot of black smoke was coming out, so we called 999. The door was open and you could see the flames getting bigger. It looked really dangerous and was pretty scary. I got my wife and son straight out the house because we were worried about it spreading.

“I feel very sorry for him. He’s a good neighbour and always friendly to us.”

Alan Holden, 74, who lives opposite, said: “It looked like a big fire. It’s usually very quiet here but there were three fire engines and lots of police.”

Another, who asked not to be named, said: “Everyone was out in the street after it started. I hope the owner is okay.”

Police said the fire was of ‘suspicious origin’ and they were waiting for forensic evidence to be taken from the scene.

A 25-year-old man from Haslingden was arrested on suspicion of arson yesterday.