A Hounslow shopkeeper has told of his terror when a mindless yob threw a lit firework into his store that could have set the whole building alight.
Sunny Singh was at the back of Barracks Superstore in Beavers Lane when the 18in banger was lobbed through the door just before 6pm on Halloween. The vandal slammed the door shut before fleeing as the shop, which luckily had just one customer at the time, quickly filled with smoke.
Mr Singh, who has owned the store for four years, led the shopper to safety through the fire escape before bravely returning to tackle the blaze with an extinguisher.
Flames licked the ceiling, burning electric cables and destroying an estimated £10,000 worth of stock as the firework continued to flare for more than five minutes.
"It was very scary," said Mr Singh. "The whole shop was filled with smoke and I could barely see a thing. If the fire extinguisher hadn't been there we would have been in big trouble.
"The electric circuit was burning, which could have sent the whole building, including the flat upstairs and house next door, up in flames."
Firefighters, who arrived to find the banger still smouldering on the shop floor, praised the actions of Mr Singh and his employee.
"They were remarkably calm considering what had happened," said Simon Hall, of Feltham Fire Station.
A police spokesman said officers had recovered the remains of the firework, which was being examined by forensic investigators.
Staff only saw the culprit's back as he fled, but said he was aged about 25, around 6ft and wearing a blue jacket.
It's not the first time crooks have targeted the shop, with vandals smashing the windows last year and burglars stealing goods worth £15,000 about seven months ago - and no one ever being caught.
Anyone with information is asked to call Hounslow CID on 020 8247 6160.