Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Someone tried to kill us all, says Blackbird Leys arson attack victim
A CHEF who shattered his ankle jumping from his burning home has called for the arsonist to be caught and jailed.
James Maguire spent two weeks in hospital after escaping the blaze in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, last month. He was one of five people in the house.
Police now believe an arsonist may have squirted a flammable liquid through the letterbox to set fire to the house in Mallard Close.
Speaking in the only clothes he has left, 33-year-old Mr Maguire said: “There are no ifs or buts about it. Someone tried to kill us.
“I lost everything – everything down to my passport.
“I am worried this will disappear and no-one will be held responsible for it. I want this guy caught.
“I want to see him in court.”
Mr Maguire, the head chef at Giraffe in Abingdon and a man who has worked in the past with the Roux brothers, had to jump from a first-floor window of the shared house in the early hours of Tuesday, January 29.
Two female housemates – aged 20 and 27 – also jumped out of their upstairs windows but landed on grass and suffered minor injuries.
Another male housemate escaped through a downstairs patio door, but only after Mr Maguire banged on his window to alert him to the flames.
Mr Maguire said he woke up to hear the fire raging.
The Glaswegian – who is now living in temporary housing in Iffley Road – said: “It sounded like thunder and lightning inside the house.
“I opened my door and from nowhere I felt this smoke and heat licking up the stairs.
“I knew then and there that there was no way down.”
He jumped out of his window on to the concrete below. He said: “I never asked myself the question – I knew I was going to break something.
“I landed on the heel of my left foot and I felt it explode into my foot. It was the most pain I have ever been in in my whole life.”
But he said as he was lying on the ground, he realised his housemate was asleep in his downstairs bedroom.
He said: “I wanted to quit there and then, but I made the decision that he was going to die if I didn’t get up.”
Mr Maguire managed to get up on his right leg and started to bang on the patio door before his housemate woke up and they both managed to get the door open.
He thanked the emergency services, those who cared for him at Headington’s John Radcliffe Hospital and the social workers who had helped him in the aftermath of the fire.
Police and fire officers at the house in Mallard Close after last month's fire
Police spokeswoman Rhianne Pope yesterday said no arrests had been made but the investigation was ongoing.
She said: “At this stage, it appears the fire was started after some form of accelerant was poured either through the letterbox or just inside the front door.
“This was a serious fire which could have easily killed or seriously injured one of the occupants of the house. Thanks to the quick actions of the residents, no-one was seriously injured.”
Anyone with information should call Oxford police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.