Neighbours have described their shock after a house was set on fire in a suspected arson attack in High Wycombe.

Police believe an accelerant was used to ignite a fire at the house in Shrimpton Road on Saturday night and are treating it as an arson attack with intent to endanger life.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she was “shocked” to hear the terrifying incident in the quiet road was being treated as arson.

She said: “You hear about these things in the news but it’s not something you ever expect to happen near where you live, it’s awful. It is lucky that the man who lives there wasn’t injured, it could have turned out a lot worse, but it is still so scary that this has happened.”

Nick Winstone, who lives across the road from the house, said he was first alerted to the blaze when someone knocked on his door.

He said: “I was upstairs when I noticed smoke coming over the top of the house. Then suddenly I heard banging on the patio doors, I think it was a neighbour. They told me there was a fire so I went out to see what was happening and if I could help.

“The fire was at the front door, it completely destroyed it and the windows are all black.”

Liz Hollman, another neighbour, said she and her family were heading to bed when they heard a “commotion” outside and decided to see what was going on.

She said: “I didn’t see it at the time, it was when neighbours were really starting to notice it. There were lots of neighbours outside making loud noises before we go up to see if we could help. Neighbours were shouting and trying to help, then there were about four or five fire engines here.”

Crews from High Wycombe, Amersham, Maidenhead and Slough, as well as the British Red Cross Fire and emergency support service vehicle based at Marlow Fire Station, and two officers, were called out.

Another resident, John Ponthempilly, who has lived in Shrimpton Road for 14 years, said police knocked on the door to ask for any CCTV footage that might help their investigation.

He said: “I could see from my bedroom there was a lot of light and I opened the curtain and I could see a fire engine was here. I saw a lot of people and police.

“The police knocked on the door after 11pm and that’s when I realised what was happening. They were asking me if I saw what happened and asking if I had CCTV. Police came back again on Sunday morning to see the CCTV.”

Anyone with information is being urged to call 101 quoting reference 1498 (12/5), or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.