A woman lost everything in a house fire which is being treated as an arson attack.

Firefighters were called on Sunday morning to reports of a house fire in Hamcroft in Easton on Portland.

The resident, a woman, was in the house at the time and managed to flee after being awoken by fire alarms. She was not injured but has been left heartbroken after her possessions were destroyed.

Detectives are investigating the incident which they believe to be suspicious.

Meanwhile, neighbours spoke of their shock following the fire.

The incident took place around 6am. It started in the porch of the house then caused significant damage to the lounge and its contents before being extinguished.

The woman who lives in the house, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I am devastated. If my fire alarms didn’t wake me up I don’t think I would still be alive.

“It’s just a horrific ordeal. I have lost everything. The inside of my house has been destroyed. It’s beyond repair.”

She thanked her neighbours who came to help her after the ordeal.

She explained: “The community were absolutely fantastic. I don’t remember much because I’m still in shock, but the community has been amazing. I am very proud to be part of it.”

Emma Lawless, who lives next door, got her family out as a precaution after the fire broke out.

She said: “I woke up to my children screaming ‘there’s a fire.’

“I looked out my window and could see bright lights from the flames, there were plumes of smoke.”

She then went downstairs, where her neighbour, who had escaped the house fire, was knocking on her door.

She said: “The woman who lives next door was hammering away on the door shouting for me to get the children out of the house.

“I have never been so frightened, you don’t expect something like that to happen so close to you.

“I feel so bad for her, she’s one of my best friends. It’s horrifying. I said to my son afterwards how I feel bad that we’re able to go about our business while her life has been torn apart.”

She added that neighbours from the estate ran to the woman’s aid, and handed out jumpers and cups of tea to those who left their homes during the incident.

Mayor of Portland Charlie Flack backed the police appeal and condemned the attack.

He said: “It’s quite alarming when something like that happens in such a close-knit community. It must have been frightening for both the woman and the residents of the road. "It’s not something that you’d expect to happen on Portland. I’ll most certainly be backing the police appeal and hopefully they will find those responsible.”

Detective Constable Andy Marsh, of Weymouth CID, said: "We suspect this was an arson and I am appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious around the time of the incident to get in touch.

"If you have any information that could assist with the investigation please contact Dorset Police or call Crimestoppers anonymously."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police quoting occurrence number 55180129311. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.