A ST HELENS couple says that a fire that destroyed the family car on Christmas night was deliberately lit and the incident has stirred memories of a horrific family tragedy.
Quail Street residents Rebecca and Dean Evans were woken by neighbours at 3am on Boxing Day to find the engine bay of their 1992 Mitsubishi Pajero alight.
The car, which was not insured for fire damage, was parked in the Evans's backyard, just 10 metres from their house.
The incident has crippled the family financially, but it also touched a deeper nerve for Mrs Evans, who lost her two and three-year old sons in a house fire at Queenstown in 1998.
Mrs Evans has stage 3 renal failure, and without a car she has no means of transport to medical appointments at St Marys.
``It's just really screwed us up,'' she said.
``I had a scan done on my kidneys just before Christmas, and now I can't even get up to St Marys to get the results.''
Mrs Evans said that the car was last used at 3pm on Christmas Day, and that it was parked in the backyard when they went to sleep that night.
They woke up to a neighbour bashing on the door.
``He was just yelling: `Your car is on fire!','' Mrs Evans said.
``We got out there with the hose and bucket, but it was no good.
``I'm just glad it wasn't any closer to the house, because it would have gone up too.''
Fire and police attended the scene, with police continuing investigations into the incident.
Mr Evans rejected the suggestion that the fire was a mechanical failure.
``It was deliberate: a targeted attack,'' he said.
Mr Evans said that he had sold the car for parts for $300 and was hoping to recoup the registration fee.
They are not sure how they are going to afford another vehicle.
``With my kidneys, I can't walk very far without getting exhausted,'' Mrs Evans said.
``I don't know what we're going to do.''
She said she also feared future attacks on their property.
``We're afraid for our kids. This is no way to live.''