CARE home staff have spoken of their disgust after vandals set fire to a minibus used for transporting people with learning disabilities.
The specially-adapted vehicle was completely destroyed in the blaze early on Saturday morning.
Police are now investigating the arson attack, which happened outside the care home on Victoria Road at Lockwood.
Staff now have no transport for the residents and it could be weeks before they get a replacement.
But they are sickened that someone could target a vehicle close to a home with vulnerable people sleeping inside.
Operations manager Linda Riley believes someone could have been killed as the fire had already begun to spread to the property.
She said: “It’s very distressing. The minibus was parked at the side of the home and the windows on to the main hallway smashed because of the heat.
“This is the residents’ home and it’s terrible that someone has come on to their driveway and done this.
“But I’m thankful that the fire didn’t get into the building. There were vulnerable people in there and it could have been a really major disaster.
“It could have resulted in the loss of life under a different set of circumstances.”
Firefighters were called to the blaze at around 6.30am on Saturday morning and took 45 minutes to bring it under control.
Staff at the home, which is owned by the charity Mencap, were alerted to the fire by a passerby who called the emergency services.
There was very little left of the seven-seat VW and staff had to spend hours cleaning the debris and spilt diesel from the burnt tarmac.
Police examined the scene and the minibus was removed.
But it could take eight weeks to find a replacement for the vehicle, which was specially adapted with a hydraulic lift for wheelchair users.
The minibus is used daily and vital for getting the adults out into the community for trips, shopping and activities like swimming.
On the day of the attack the six residents – who are in their 40s and 50s – had planned to attend a street party to celebrate the Royal Wedding with friends at another care home.
Linda said: “The attack is sickening because it’s a vehicle that has clearly been designed for people with a disability.
“They rely on it to access the community and for people in a wheelchair it’s a lifeline.
“I don’t know what the person who did this could have possibly got out of it but it’s caused pain and upset to other people.
“It’s terrible that someone can do this to a smashing group of people who have done no harm to anybody.
“Staff have been very upset but I’m proud of the way they have dealt with it and helped keep the residents calm and made sure everything is cleaned up.
“We will just have to be creative and do the best we can to try and get them all out but it will be difficult..
“We will have to find a replacement, but that will mean taking money out of funds needed elsewhere and it’s difficult times.”
Anyone with information about the fire incident is asked to contact police on 0845 6060606.