TWO people are missing after a family home was gutted by an arson attack.

The property in Croxden Way, Eastbourne, was engulfed in flames shortly after 1am yesterday and a man who lives there, in his twenties, is in hospital with burns.

Sussex Police said the other two residents are “unaccounted for”.

The roof of the two-storey house has been burnt through, and neighbours said the stairs inside have been destroyed.

One onlooker said they saw the bathroom window shatter and flames burst through, setting fire to a nearby tree.

They said there was “nothing anyone could have done” to help, and described the fire as “horrendous and horrible”.

The neighbour added that the family living at the house are “young”.

No arrests have been made, police said.

Firefighters battled the blaze for hours and were seen with detectives yesterday trying to establish the cause of the fire.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “We were woken up by the neighbours at about 12.50am.

“They were shouting ‘fire’ and saying ‘get the fire brigade’.

“I looked out the window and saw flames coming out of the front door.

“It was like an inferno of flames coming out of the front door and window.

“Then the bathroom window exploded and that set the tree in front of the house on fire.

“Before you knew it, the roof was on fire.

“Then you could see the flames coming out of the rear of the house and the smoke and everything.

“It was horrendous. It was horrible.

“There’s nothing anyone could have done.

“We couldn’t get in but we didn’t hear or see anyone inside.

“We didn’t know there was anyone in there.

“It took a few hours to put the flames out.

“The stairs have gone inside the house and there is no first floor.

“Everybody round here is a bit shocked that somebody could do that to a young family.

“It’s just horrendous.”

A Sussex Police statement said: “It will be some time before forensic scientists can access the building due to the ferocity of the fire and the subsequent damage caused.

“The investigation is in the very early stages and there are no further details available at this time.”

Anyone with information about the arson should call Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Druffield. You can also report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.