Detectives are appealing for information after the front door of a home in Roseberry Court in Benfleet was set alight.
Police were contacted at around 3.15am on Thursday April 6, after the occupants of a house discovered the fire which they managed to extinguish before emergency services arrived.
Detective Inspector David Miles said: “Fortunately no one was injured but the occupants were left very shaken up.
“We are treating this incident as arson and I’m appealing to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area to get in touch.
“Particularly, I am keen to speak to anyone who saw a dark coloured Vauxhall Astra being driven in the area at the time.”
Two men, aged 32 and 25 and a 27-year-old woman, all from Colchester, have been arrested on suspicion of arson endangering life and are being questioned by detectives in custody.
Anyone with information is asked to contact DS Phil Rowberry at Basildon police station on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.