A HOME has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

Emergency services rushed to the unoccupied mobile home, in Kingsleigh Park, Hart Road, Thundersley, at about 2.15am yesterday, after flames engulfed the building.

A neighbour said her two pet dogs started barking and woke her.

She immediately called the fire service and also attempted to tackle part of the blaze herself.

Police have since arrested a woman on suspicion of arson.

Julie Diggines, of Second Avenue, said: “I didn’t know about it until I heard my dogs barking.

“I went to investigate and saw the front of the house up in flames. I called the fire brigade immediately.

“Because the back of the house meets the fences of my garden, I got a hose and started hosing the fence down until the firemen got here.”

The mobile home, which had been sold, was completely alight when firefighters got there.

Ms Diggines, 48, added: “They couldn’t enter from the front of the house so they had to cut the panel from my fence to get through the back. It is absolutely horrendous; the thing is we wouldn’t have even known until the windows blew open.”

Crews from Rayleigh Weir managed to put out the fire by 3am.

Nearby residents have praised Ms Diggines for her quick-thinking.

Irene Potter, 79, of First Avenue, and who lives next to the gutted property, said: “Julie came out and gave all the firefighters tea and biscuits.

“It was really good of her. It was quite scary and we were assured that our house was out of danger. But it is just a sad situation.”

John Potter, 86, added: “We didn’t realise until we heard the fire engines.

“We came out and there was just smoke everywhere.

“The front of the house was flamed up and it was just coming out of everywhere. It’s lucky nobody was in there, the house has been sold and there have been cleaners coming in and out, decorating the place. But the new home owner hasn’t moved in yet.”

A woman in her fifties was arrested on suspicion of arson shortly after 10am yesterday.

She was taken to Basildon police station for questioning.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Sub Officer Steven Bennett from Rayleigh Weir fire station said: “Thankfully, no one was staying in the mobile home affected by the fire.

“The firefighters contained the fire and stopped it from spreading to any of the other properties on the site.”