Courageous firefighters saved woman and kids from burning Leeds house after arson revenge attack

Walters actions in deliberately starting the fire in the early hours of the morning could very easily have caused the deaths of a mother and her two young children, police said.
Walters actions in deliberately starting the fire in the early hours of the morning could very easily have caused the deaths of a mother and her two young children, police said.
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Police have praised the actions of 'courageous' firefighters who saved a woman and her kids after an arsonist torched their home over a 'grudge'.

A mum and her two children were "minutes from death" when an arsonist torched her home in a revenge attack in Leeds.

Anthony Walters was given an extended prison of 20 years today after being found guilty of arson with intent to endanger life.

Walters, 34, travelled from his home in Doncaster before setting fire to the house on Hill Top Mount, Chapeltown, in the early hours of January 24 this year.

Detective Inspector Dave McDougal, of Leeds District CID, said: “Walters’ actions in deliberately starting the fire in the early hours of the morning could very easily have caused the deaths of a mother and her two young children.

“Had it not been for the courageous actions of the firefighters who rescued them from the burning property, the incident could have ended in tragedy.

“Walters travelled from Doncaster to target the victim because of a grudge he held against her over the break-up of his relationship with her friend.

“He has proven himself to be a very dangerous individual and we hope the significant sentence he has received will provide some degree of comfort and reassurance to the victim and her family.

“Walters was identified and brought to justice as a result of a thorough and comprehensive investigation by detectives which should serve to remind people of how seriously we treat crimes of arson where lives have been put at risk.”

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A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “You only need to look at the pictures of the damage caused by this fire to see that the family have had an incredibly lucky escape.

“We must take this opportunity to commend the swift actions of firefighters in responding to this fire and the skill and professionalism of our Control staff who received the 999 call – this vital teamwork between our staff was critical in the positive outcome to this incident.

“Had it not also been for the working smoke alarms in the property this fire could easily have claimed lives.”