POLICE suspect arson after a woman had a lucky escape when a fire started in her home on Saturday afternoon.
The Farnborough mother of three, believed to be in her 40s or 50s, was taken to hospital and is receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.
Police have launched an investigation and revealed that the fire, in Churchill Close, is being treated as suspicious.
Neighbours were shocked by the fire which started just after 4pm.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “We saw a police car at the top of the road about an hour before the fire started.
“Then my granddaughter was looking out of the downstairs window and she shouted that there was something going on at the house. Suddenly flames blew out of the window and there was the sound of breaking glass.
“We knew the people who lived there, but not to speak to.”
Another Churchill Close resident, who witnessed the incident, told the Mail: “I was in the kitchen when my children came running in and said there was a fire.
“We looked out of the front window and could see it was well alight.
“When we got to the steps that led down to the house she (the householder) was standing just in the front door. My friend told her to come out, but she wouldn’t.”
“It seemed to take a long time for the fire brigade to arrive, but that might be because I was just watching.”
The resident, who also said that she did not know her neighbour that well, added: “There were children who don’t even live in the close who obviously saw something was happening and came round.
“I was telling them to stay back because the windows could blow.
“Literally 30 seconds later they all came out.”
A woman was taken to Frimley Park Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, while neighbours were evacuated from their home as firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control.
Rushmoor station commander Tim Vile said it needed 15 firefighters to tackle the blaze.
Mr Vile said: “The occupant was found to be out on our arrival.
“There was a serious fire in the living room and the rest of the property was extensively damaged by smoke. The adjoining property was also smoke logged.”
The fire was brought under control by about 6pm, but another crew was sent to the address at 8pm to ensure the property was safe with no risk of the fire re-igniting.
Det Sgt David Storey, of Aldershot CID, said yesterday: “We are treating the fire as suspicious and an investigation will be carried out.
“A woman is still in hospital and we haven’t been able to interview her yet."
Detectives hope to conclude their investigation by the end of the week.