A PET dog was killed in an arson attack which police think could be linked to several other fires.

The dog, Spirit, died when Angela Simmons’ home in Cissbury Avenue, Peacehaven, was set fire to on Monday night.

Ms Simmons, whose home was targeted in an arson attack in May last year, was not at home but her beloved pet, who was a star in the Seaford Musical Theatre production of Annie, perished in the blaze.

Police said last night a 20-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of arson and added that they were reviewing a number of other “similar incidents” but refused to say how many.

A caravan parked on Ms Simmons’ drive was targeted last May causing gas canisters to explode and the blaze to spread to neighbouring properties.

Neighbours also said there had been at least two other fires in the street.

Police crime data shows there were nine offences of criminal damage or arson reported in the Cissbury Road area since last May.

The Argus: Spirit died in an arson attack at his owner's home in Cissbury Avenue, Peacehaven

Neighbour Lee Roberts’s home backs on to Ms Simmons’ property.

When he saw the flames he rushed to get his daughter and her friends to safety before making sure all their neighbours were safe.

He said he was heartbroken he had been unable to save Spirit.

Mr Roberts, 31, said: “I had seven kids at the house when suddenly our house was full of smoke.

“I looked up and the flames were 30ft high.

“I got all the kids to safety then ran round the side.

“The windows were shuddering and it looked like they were about to blow.

“Myself and another neighbour were going door to door to get everybody out.

“Then the fire brigade arrived.

“I only found out later the dog was still in there.

“I could have spared 20 seconds to try and get her.

“Although the fire crews said that if I had managed to break in, the back draft could have made it explode.”

“The flames were 30 to 40ft high.”

Ms Simmons spent the night with her next door neighbours before being taken into temporary accommodation as her home was comply gutted by the blaze.

Another neighbour Selina McLarney said: “That dog was everything to her and she always had it with her – just not last night – so she must be heartbroken.

“I also know that we as neighbours are doing a local collection for her to help her at this difficult time.”

Mr Roberts, a landscape gardener, offered to help Ms Simmons fix her garden after the blaze and said other tradespeople and neighbours had also offered to help.

Seaford Musical Theatres said that a donation would be made from the proceeds of its production and a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help Ms Simmons get back on her feet.