A mother-of-three is appealing for witnesses to come forward after someone poured petrol through her letterbox to burn her home down.

Sammie Richardson, 27, and her three young children were luckily staying with family when an arsonist targeted her flat in St Andrew's Road, just after 5am on Monday. 

Eight people, including a family of five, had to be rescued via a ladder after smoke and flames engulfed the two-storey apartment block in South Ham.

The police are now investigating after evidence showed fuel was poured through Sammie's letter box before the depraved individual set alight to it.

Speaking about the terrifying ordeal, Sammie said: “At 5 o’clock on Monday morning, someone came to my house and poured petrol through my letterbox and left it in flames.

“I am a 27-year-old girl with three kids doing everything I can to make a better life for me and my family.

She continued: “I have made mistakes but I have never done anyone wrong enough to make them want to hurt me or the children so dramatically.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Sammie is urging anyone with information to come forward. Contact the police on 101 if you wish to report any suspicious activity. Sammie is urging anyone with information to come forward. Contact the police on 101 if you wish to report any suspicious activity.

Distraught Sammie said thankfully, they have been able to stay with family but it has left her wondering who could be behind such a violent attack.

She said: “[Was it] a random attack or the wrong house? I don’t know. All I know is that people are so truly evil. I am exhausted. Yesterday was hell.”

Sammie is now urging anyone with information to come forward. The individual would have been on St Andrew’s Road in South Ham at around 5am yesterday and possibly some time before.

A dog walker or someone getting up for work may have seen someone in the area. Russell Howard Park is close by. 

Sammie said: “I just hope they find who was responsible.”

The worried mother added: “I am going to bed sad and scared but feeling extra grateful for mine and the kids’ health and life.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Police investigating yesterdayPolice investigating yesterday

She thanked everyone who has supported her and said she was “overwhelmed” with kindness.

Hampshire Constabulary has been contacted for comment.

Anyone with information should call 101 or 999 in the event of an emergency.

A spokesperson from Hampshire Constabulary said yesterday that they were investigating, alongside the fire service.

In a statement, they said: "We were called at 5.14am on July 27 to reports of a fire at an address on St Andrew's Road, Basingstoke.

"On police arrival HFRS declared that everyone was safe and the building had been evacuated.

"We will be working with a fire investigator to determine the exact cause of the fire."

A resident, of St Andrew's Road, told The Gazette described the terrifying moment they were woken up to the sound of sirens.

The neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "A family of five had to come out and down from the ladder because of the smoke.

"There were several fire engines and it was startling as it woke us up at 5am.

"We heard the firefighters shouting to get a ladder for the neighbour. People couldn't get out near the stairwell."

They said they were surprised about the incident, adding: "Fires are rare around here, and things like this don't happen as it's a quiet area. I'm glad they were rescued safely."