FOUR people - including a three-year-old girl - were forced to flee for their lives after their front door was set on fire in an arson attack at their Kinson home.

Police are appealing for information after the terrifying incident in the early hours of this morning in West Howe Close.

It took place around 3am. 

The property was occupied by a 56-year-old woman, her daughters – 21 and 25 – and her granddaughter, aged three.

They were awoken by the smoke alarm and made their way to a first floor window.

One of the women jumped from a ledge under the window, went and got a ladder from a neighbour’s house and helped the others to escape to safety.

No one was injured.

Detective Constable Neil Third, of Bournemouth CID, said: “This is an extremely serious incident and it was very fortunate that no one was hurt.

“Had the smoke alarm not been working we could be dealing with the deaths of four innocent people.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or knows of someone unusually smelling of petrol or smoke since this crime occurred.

“I urge anyone who has information about this incident or the offenders to contact Dorset Police urgently.

“All calls are treated in the strictest confidence.”

No arrests have been made.

Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101 quoting incident number 18:26.