TERRIFIED kids were left screaming in fear when seven cars went up in flames on their road.

Residents described the moment they were woken up to their street being engulfed in a fireball as “horrendous”.

Four cars were completely burnt out


Four cars were completely burnt outCredit: Terry Harris
The cars went up in flames


The cars went up in flames
Residents described it as 'horrendous'


Residents described it as ‘horrendous’Credit: Terry Harris

Fearing their homes would set alight, barefooted locals ran outside to see what was happening during the early hours of Thursday morning.

Mum-of-two Maria Manan described the devastating scene in Peterborough, which left four cars nothing but burnt out shells, as “quite surreal”.

She said: “There was fire everywhere, people were screaming, the kids were petrified.”

The 34-year-old housewife, whose husband Abdul, 41, had his work van written off, told UK Times Online of the horror.

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She said: “It was about 1am, I was asleep and suddenly woken by a big blast and popping sound.

“I looked out of the window and there were lots or orange flames everywhere.

“My neighbour Barbara was banging on my door saying ‘What the Hell is going on?’ It was quite surreal.

“We ran outside, I was still in by bedclothes and barefoot.

“We were so scared. The fire was so huge and we thought it would set out house alight.

“There was so much smoke and we couldn’t see or breath properly.

“All the other neighbours were coming out and despite the heat being so immense we were shivering.

“My girls aged 12 and seven were petrified. They didn’t know what was happening.”

Some shocked owners believe it was an arson attack and their vehicles were deliberately targeted.

However a police officer told Abdul they understood it was due to an electrical fault or fuel leak in one of the cars, sparking the inferno and setting off a chain reaction.

Maria, who still believes it was arson, added: “We were lucky, very, very lucky that no one was hurt.

“I think someone did this deliberately but I don’t know why.”


Builder-labourer Abdul said: “It was crazy, it was horrendous and I’ve never seen anything like it.

“It looked like log burners had ignited across the street.

“The flames were two metres high and towering above the firefighters who arrived quickly.

“There was all this popping and banging and the flames were so huge, it was so blazing, and scary.”

Abdul said he’d only had his van a couple of months and the left hand side has completely melted away.

Keeping an open mind, he added: “I don’t know, anything’s possible.

“It could be arson, police are saying it cold be an electrical fault in one of the cars but we have to presume anything.”

When the flames were finally under control with no risk to properties catching alight, stunned families returned to their homes.

Some homes, which had no front gardens, were left with shattered windows and buckled doors.

Burnt out cars and a thick air still loomed over the street this morning.

Three of the four gutted cars, blackened with twisted metal, were still there, with one being later being towed away.

Two other partially damaged cars and the van were still parked up – looking pristine on one side but wrecked on the other.


Construction worker Nikita Nikolagevs said he was “so sad” to lose his beloved Audi A5 which he has owned for just six weeks.

The 28-year-old said: “I think it was an arson assault, someone set our cars on fire.

“This can be a dangerous area at times with drunken and druggie people.

“I’ve only had my car for six weeks, it’s a 2010 model and I paid £6,800. I’m so sad it’s gone.”

He told how he was woken up in the early hours by his dad who had been up watching football on TV.

He said: “We went outside and everything was on fire.

“It smelt so horrible and still smells and my head is spinning because the rubber or tyres burning and petrol exploding is acrid.

“I have insurance but I don’t have a car to get to work near Stansted Airport so I will have to get a train to Huntingdon and get a lift from there with a pal.

“It’s very inconvenient.”

Resident Nigel Truss, 60, had recently restored a red Land Rover Defender – but told how the sound of his “tyres exploding” made him jump.

The engineer said: “I looked out and saw an orange glow and thought ‘What is going on?’ I wasn’t scared but really, really shocked.

“The front of my car was on fire and within moments it had spread to the back.

“I had just restored it and it was worth £15,000 – £20,000.

“I have another car but it is just a nuisance to have lost this one. I have insurance but it takes time to sort it all out.

“I don’t think it was arson. A lot of people around here know me and I’m not disliked! I think it was an accident.”


Explaining the street had had problems in the past with racism, Nigel still believes it was simply a problem with one of the cars.

A distraught Romica Nica, the owner of a destroyed black BMW X6, said: “When I saw it I thought ‘Oh my days’ and started crying.”

The Romanian dad-of-four said: “It was 1am and I woke up to boom, boom, boom and came out to see two cars on fire, one mine.

“I was scared. It is the first time I have parked my car on the road outside my house.

“I normally park it in my daughter’s garage around the corner.

“It is our family car, not a work one, and is worth £20,000. We drive it over to Romania to visit family. It has a new MOT two months ago, it was road worthy

“I think someone started the fire. I work so hard every day. I don’t know why this had has happened.”

The blaze, according to locals, appeared to have started in the BMW.

The owner a Lexus IS200 destroyed by the flames was on holiday at the time but was alerted to his loss by his pal and fellow neighbour.

The man, who declined to be named, said: “I called him to tell him what had happened. It’s awful and quite shocking.

“Police and forensics have been at the scene and they told us that it could have been a fuel leak from the BMW and a chain reaction set the other cars on fire.

“Everyone at first thought it was arson.”

Cambridgeshire Police launched an investigation which later confirmed the cause was due to an electrical fault.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We were called to Norfolk Street at about 1.20am yesterday to reports of vehicles on fire.

“An investigation was launched to establish the cause of the fire, and later determined it was an electrical fault.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said at the time: “At just after 1am this morning crews from Stanground and Dogsthorpe were called to a fire on Norfolk Street in Millfield, Peterborough.

“Firefighters arrived to find a well-developed fire involving several cars.

“Wearing breathing apparatus they extinguished the fire using hose reels and returned to their stations by 3.40am.

“A crew inspected the scene at 7am to ensure the area was safe.”

Police say the cause of the fire was an electrical fault


Police say the cause of the fire was an electrical faultCredit: Terry Harris
Residents have lost out on thousands


Residents have lost out on thousandsCredit: Terry Harris
One resident's van was completely meted on the left hand side


One resident’s van was completely meted on the left hand sideCredit: Terry Harris
Police and fire crew attended


Police and fire crew attendedCredit: Terry Harris

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