Raydon arson attack leads woman to relive grandsons’ death in caravan blaze

Arson attack destroys caravans and damages home in Rectory Close, Raydon, on Friday October 24 2014.

Arson attack destroys caravans and damages home in Rectory Close, Raydon, on Friday October 24 2014. Elizabeth Smith, 23, granddaughter of the homeowners, surveys the damage. - Credit: Archant

Arsonists have caused a woman to relive the memories of the death of two grandsons who died in a caravan blaze.

Arson attack destroys caravans and damages home in Rectory Close, Raydon, on Friday October 24 2014

Arson attack destroys caravans and damages home in Rectory Close, Raydon, on Friday October 24 2014 - Credit: Archant

Firefighters told asthma-sufferer Dora Smith it was fortunate she was not home after firebugs started a blaze in her garden, in Rectory Close, Raydon, late on Friday night, otherwise she may have succumbed to smoke inhalation in her sleep.

The blaze destroyed two caravans, two sheds including one belonging to a neighbour, and damaged part of Mrs Smith’s bungalow, at the end of the quiet cul-de-sac.

It has caused painful memories for Mrs Smith, 64, whose grandsons Ben, two, and Rodney Smith, 11, were killed in a caravan fire in West Meadows, Ipswich, in April 2005.

One of the caravans destroyed in Friday’s arson attack belonged to their mother, who died shortly after them, and contained all of her belongings.

Arson attack destroys caravans and damages home in Rectory Close, Raydon, on Friday October 24 2014

Arson attack destroys caravans and damages home in Rectory Close, Raydon, on Friday October 24 2014 - Credit: Archant

Mrs Smith, who lives with her husband Cornelius, 69, said: “We had been at hospital visiting a relative, and when we came home and saw all the lights I just fainted with the shock of it all.

“I had to have oxygen because the fumes from the fire.


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“I can’t live here now, it is too worrying. It has shaken us right up.

“We would have been in bed asleep at that time. The firemen said it was lucky we were out.

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“I hope they find who did it. We lost our grandsons in a caravan fire and it’s bringing it all back.”

Firefighters from two counties spent 90 minutes tackling the blaze.

Crews from Hadleigh and Princes Street, Ipswich, were dispatched at 9.33pm and called for back-up when they arrived at the scene.

Additional firefighters from Colchester and Woodbridge helped to extinguish the fire by 11.12pm, using two hose reels and two jets.

Granddaughter Elizabeth Smith, 23, cousin to Rodney and Ben added: “Whoever did this doesn’t realise they could have taken lives.

“We are very upset by it all.

“My nan can’t look at it because it will cause flashbacks so everyone is trying to clear as much up as possible. It would bring it all back.

“She has been through so much in her life and this has ticked the box.”

Ms Smith said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damage, but said the contents were not insured.

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