Police are hunting a bungling arsonist who set himself on fire at a mobile home park run by a man who admitted bullying residents.
An office building at Woodbine Mobile Home Park, in Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, managed by Maurice Sines, was targeted at 2.30am on Sunday.
CCTV footage shows a man pushing paper or card doused with fuel through a letter box and then setting light to it.
However, he sets his clothes alight in the process and he is seen running away with his clothes on fire.
The fire in the building did not take hold, narrowly avoiding a gas canister being stored in the building.
The blaze was not discovered until 7am on Sunday and it is currently out of use due to smoke damage.
Site Governor Mr Sines was last year ordered to pay £300,000 in fines and compensation after admitting intimidating residents at a park on the Isle of Wight.
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing also accused Mr Sines of "disgusting bullying tactics" at Breach Barns park in Galley Hill, Waltham Abbey, during a House of Commons debate in 2012.
He has offered a £20,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the arsonist.
Site Manager Jackie Barrett said: "The door was melted, the steps were black. It was clear there had been a fire.
"When we opened the door everything was covered in soot, it was like a haunted house and it smelt like fumes and smoke.
"We are lucky the fire put itself out as there was a gas tank inside.
“If the fire had reached it the knock-on effect could have cost someone their life.
"The office is surrounded by homes, the worst case scenario could have seen around 10 go up in flames and people were asleep. Nobody would have known."
Essex Police are currently attempting to get a clear image from the CCTV, which has not been released.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Essex Police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.