ARSONISTS struck at a garage in another attack at the centre of a residential area of Weymouth.
Firefighters rushed to tackle the blaze at the back of Abbotsbury Road in Westham at 9.15pm on Monday.
Detectives are appealing for witnesses to come forward after an investigation revealed the blaze had been started deliberately.
The blaze destroyed the contents of the concrete 10 by eight-metre unit, which is accessed via Holland Road.
Residents poured into the streets after the fire broke out and cordons blocked off the entrance to the burnt-out garage.
Firefighters advised those living nearby to close their windows and doors due to fears of asbestos in the garage roof.
Police are investigating a link between this attack and two bins that were set alight nearby on the Rodwell trail shortly before.
Geoff Wick and his partner Hannah Webster, who own the garage and rent out the property attached, have hit out against the ‘mindless vandalism’.
Mr Wick said: “It is very distressing and we still feel numb about what has happened. We rent out the property but had still been using the garage for storage, as has one of our tenants.
“One of the neighbours called us straightaway and I got there as soon as I could to check everyone was okay. It is just mindless vandalism and I don’t know why anyone would do it.”
The couple said the blaze destroyed thousands of pounds worth of their belongings.
Mr Wick added: “To replace everything that has been destroyed will cost thousands.
“Thankfully no-one was hurt which is the most important thing.”
Ms Webster said: “When people set alight to buildings they do not think of what damage it will cause and they aren’t aware of what is in there.
“For all they knew someone could have been inside.”
Several concerned residents dialled 999 after spotting the blaze and seeing tall flames and smoke near to their homes.
Miranda Tidswell, 34, of Alma Road, said: “I thought I could hear fireworks really nearby at first. I saw huge flames coming out on the roof and a lot of us went out to see what was happening.
“We were told to keep our windows and doors shut because of an asbestos roof.”
Stuart Slade, 31, who lives in Abbotsbury Road, said: “I’m not very happy to be honest as it was right near to my home but thankfully no one was hurt.”
Pat Young, of Abbotsbury Road, said: “I heard banging and my cat started to look really terrified.
“The police and fire were here, it is very worrying for all the residents.”
PLEA FOR WITNESSES TO SUSPICIOUS FIRE
POLICE are appealing for witnesses to come forward to help them with enquiries.
A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “We received a report from fire services at around 9pm on Monday night to a fire on Holland Road.
“We were told an unknown person set a garage on fire used for storage.
“The fire is being treated as suspicious and we would like anyone with information to come forward.”
Anyone with information should contact Dorset Police on 101.