A GRANDMOTHER has spoken of the terrifying moment she woke to find yobs had thrown a lit firework through her bedroom window.
Eileen Gascoigne was fast asleep in her flat at Ashby House, in South Bank, Surbiton, when the sickening attack happened on Saturday morning at about 1.20am.
The 86-year-old grandmother-of-three described how she woke to find her room filled with thick smoke, and the ear-piercing bang which brought back memories of the Blitz.
"All I could see was thick yellow smoke and then there was a terrific bang and I thought 'I've got to get out'," said the former bank teller, who made bullet cases at a factory in Balham during the Second World War.
"Luckily the firework exploded against the side of my wardrobe. If it had landed in my bed, a few feet away, I might not have been so lucky. I lived through the Blitz but I've never heard such a bang. We've never had any problems around here and I can't understand why anyone would want to do this."
One resident reported hearing three boys outside laughing shortly before the fire started but there is no description of the suspects. Firefighters from Kingston and New Malden stations were quickly on the scene and the only damage was minor scorch marks to the carpet.
Mrs Gascoigne, who has lived in the sheltered housing block for nearly two decades, is obviously blessed after surviving another fire in her flat two years ago, started by a faulty oven. She said all her neighbours had been incredibly supportive.
Alison Murphy, scheme manager at Ashby House, said the attack could have had serious consequences if the victim hadn't been as 'tough' as Mrs Gascoigne.
"Whoever's responsible is a complete low-life, picking on the vulnerable like this," she said. "Eileen's very tough but there are people here who would have been seriously distressed had this happened to them."
The attack came just two days after mum-of-nine Mary Fox died in a blaze started when a lit banger was pushed through the letterbox of her Cornwall home on Bonfire Night.
Anyone with information is asked to call Kingston Police on 020 8247 4909 or Crimestoppers, free and anonymously, on 0800 555 111.