A Whiteabbey woman whose property was extensively damaged in an arson attack at the weekend has said her neighbour was lucky not to have been killed in the blaze.
The woman said that she and her family had been woken at around 3am on Sunday, October 12 by the noise of the fire as it engulfed their garden fence and oil tank.
The blaze, thought to have been started deliberately in a shed at the rear of a house in Glenview Crescent, quickly spread and ignited two nearby oil tanks, sparking a massive fire that caused extensive destruction.
Serious fire damage was caused to the back of the house, as well as the windows, guttering, garages and gardens of neighbouring homes. Only the swift actions of the Fire Service prevented the blaze from spreading to other properties.
At the house where the fire started, the female occupant, aged in her 50s, was lucky to escape uninjured.
Speaking to the Times on Monday, a neighbour whose property was severely damaged by the blaze, said the woman was lucky to be alive.
“A few people were alerted to the fire and somebody got her out. Luckily she was sleeping at the front of the house because the fireman said that if she’d been sleeping in that bedroom (at the back of the property) she’d probably have been killed because of the intensity of the fire.
“The flames were above our roof. From our bathroom you could see the flames and it was just like a big ball of white intense heat with all that oil on fire,” she said.
“Once everything was safe the firemen brought her in to show her the damage, and the poor woman, she just walked in and nearly collapsed. She had been at the front of the house and came out the front and had no idea of the extent of the damage.
“It was lucky that people woke when they did. If people hadn’t woken up then it could have been an awful lot worse.”
Mayor Thomas Hogg, who called with a number of householders in the Glenview area on Tuesday, October 14, described the arson attack as “mindless criminality.”
• Read the full story in this week’s Times (on sale now)