A family has been left homeless days before Christmas and a young boy battling serious injuries after a suspected arson attack on their home.

Two of single dad Paul Beattie’s sons, aged 10 and 21, had to jump from a bedroom window to escape the blaze.

The youngest, ten-year-old Blaine, suffered 40% burns and was left in a coma in hospital fighting for his life.

All their belongings were lost including presents Paul had bought for his family, and they have now been left homeless days before Christmas.

One of the family’s two pet dogs also died in the blaze.

The Northern Echo: Blaine, 10, suffered 40% burns and was left in a coma in hospital. His condition is now described as serious but not life-threatening.Blaine, 10, suffered 40% burns and was left in a coma in hospital. His condition is now described as serious but not life-threatening. (Image: FAMILY)

A man in his mid-20s has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. He has since been released on bail.

Paul Beattie, of Forth Close in Peterlee, was working his regular night shift at Asda when the fire started in a wheelie-bin just after 1.15am.

It spread to the house causing extensive damage to the upstairs flat where his children lay asleep.

The Northern Echo: Paul Beattie with son Blaine.Paul Beattie with son Blaine. (Image: FAMILY)

Paula Townley was at work with Paul when he was told his house was up in flames with his children still inside.

“I saw Paul run towards the doors at work, and I’ll never forget the look on his face - he was as white as a sheet and the panic on his face is something I just can’t get out of my head,” she said.

The Northern Echo: The family have been left homeless after the blaze.The family have been left homeless after the blaze. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“I said to him I’d rush him to his house but then three police officers turned up in a matter of seconds and took him themselves.

“He’s absolutely devastated. I don’t think it has fully hit him what has actually happened.

“All he can think about is his kids’ Christmas presents.

“He keeps telling me about replacing them, buying the oldest son the TV he had originally bought for him and the youngest son some Xbox games - but they don’t even have an Xbox to play them on now with everything being destroyed.

The Northern Echo: The home has been left uninhabitable.The home has been left uninhabitable. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“I think with everything going on with the house, his son, having to pay for hotels up in Newcastle and taking the bus every day to go to the hospital to see him, it’s so much to take on.”

Blaine remains in hospital at the RVI where he is expected to require lengthy treatment.

The Northern Echo: Blaine remains in hospital.Blaine remains in hospital. (Image: FAMILY)

His older brother Cameron suffered minor burns and the effects of smoke inhalation.

Paula, with the help of her son, has now set up a GoFundMe page to try to help the Paul and his family get back on their feet.

She added: “It’s awful to see what’s happened to Paul and his family, he’s just a single Dad trying to provide for his family - I wanted to try and help them as much as I possibly could.

The Northern Echo: The burnt window of the property.The burnt window of the property. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“Even a few hundred pounds would help him in some way, I never thought it would get the attention it’s getting now.

“We’ve raised over six thousand pounds now and Paul truly can’t believe the support he’s getting and that people are donating.”

The Northern Echo: Blaine Beattie.Blaine Beattie. (Image: FAMILY)

The GoFundMe page caught the attention of ex-Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby, who donated £500.

 “Although we’ve had some generous donations, especially at this time of year, we need more support,” Paula continued.

“It’s vital that we get as much money raised as possible to help Paul and his family get back on their feet.

“Even the smallest donation goes a long way.”

Donations can be made via the GoFundMe page here.

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Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident and are appealing for anyone in the area to come forward to assist.

DCI Lindsay Banks-Brown, who is leading the investigation, said: “This was a young boy, who should have been safe in his family home, and whose life will never be the same again.

“It is an horrendous incident, but frankly it could have been even worse – we could easily have been dealing with a fatal house fire in which a child lost their life.

“If anyone has any information which can help our enquiry, I would ask them to do the right thing and get in touch with us immediately”.

Anyone with information is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101 and quote incident 34 of December 14.