RATHCOOLE residents have demanded the authorities step in to secure a dangerous block of derelict flats.
The call comes after the flats on the Old Irish Highway were set on fire last week, forcing nearby residents from their homes while the fire service tackled the blaze.
Police have confirmed the incident as arson and issued an appeal for information.
A number of local householders, community representatives and politicians gathered outside the dilapidated building on Monday (August 13) to call for the property to be knocked down.
The flats have been lying vacant for some time, and the property has been used by young people gathering to drink and take drugs.
Residents have said the land is infested with rats and they are scared children playing on the site could seriously injure themselves.
“The place is an absolute eyesore,” said local community worker Phil Hamilton. “People have been complaining about it for years and it’s about time our MLAs, councillors and the statutory agencies worked together to get the problem sorted once and for all. There are elderly people and young families living beside this mess and this is affecting their health. People want to see the place knocked down.”
Local politicians have also called upon the council and Housing Executive to act on the privately owned building and to secure the site.
The Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that crews from Glengormley and Whitla Street fire stations were called out to tackle the blaze on the fourth floor of the building shortly after 6.30pm on Tuesday, August 7.
A PSNI spokesperson said that the fire is being treated as arson, and appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.