THE father of an eight-month old has said suspected arsonists could have killed him and his son.

Shahid Hussain was having a shower in his Haslingden home when he noticed a fire in the back yard that was starting to spread to his house.

His baby son Said Mohammad Shahid was in a cradle downstairs when the blaze happened on Saturday afternoon.

In panic, Mr Hussain rushed out of the shower to get his son and he carried him to a next door neighbour’s house.

The fire, thought to be deliberate, left the kitchen and living room badly damaged.

Mr Hussain, who lives in Manchester Road with his wife Alisha Shahid Shah and three children Farhan Shah-Bukhari, five, Alishba Noor Shahid, two, and Said Mohammad Shahid, eight months, was alone with his youngest at the time of the fire.

He said: “It was Saturday afternoon when the fire happened.

“I have three children but two of them had gone out with my wife.

“So I was in the home alone with our baby Said.

“I was having a shower and the window was open in the bathroom and I could smell something burning.

“With it being the summer I thought nothing of it and thought it must be a BBQ.”

“I carried on in the shower but a few seconds later, I saw some smoke coming through the window and burning outside.

“This is when I became suspicious and in a flash I was out of the shower.

“I was panicking as a I knew Said was downstairs, so I rushed out of the shower and went down to get Said and we left the house. Fortunately the next-door neighbour was in. If the fire had burned for a few minutes longer and we both could have died.”

The blaze has left Mr Hussain and his family having to stay at a relative’s home.

They face weeks living away from their home and costly repairs.

Mr Hussain, who only moved to Haslingden three years ago, said: “The kitchen and living room windows have been destroyed and the kitchen door as the fire had started spreading to the house.

“The flames got very close to a boiler pipe in the back yard and if they had the house could have exploded. The damage is going to cost a lot.”

Fire crews were called to the blaze involving rubbish at around 3.20pm on Saturday.

The fire service said: “Crews from Rawtenstall attended a fire involving rubbish and a property on Manchester Road in Haslingden.

“Crews used two breathing apparatus, two hose reels and two ventilation fans to extinguish the fire and were in attendance for one hour and thirty minutes."

A spokesman said the fire was being investigated. A police spokeswoman said: “We received a call from the fire service about a fire in a back yard.

“We were asked to go and have a look as it may have been suspicious.”

Mr Hussain added: “I think this was probably children messing about and deciding to chuck something over the fence.

“There has been a problem with deliberate fires recently in Haslingden.

“Myself and my son are very lucky really as this could have been a lot worse. We could have been killed if we’d stayed in the house for a few minutes longer.

“It really was a terrifying experience, one which I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

“I also want to thank the people of Haslingden for their support.

“There are some great people who have offered to help us following the fire.

“We are very grateful for their help in what has been a difficult time for us as a family.”