Unexpected visit saves mum’s life

Damage caused to the property at Fergus Court.
Damage caused to the property at Fergus Court.

An arson attack at the home of a bed-bound pensioner in Carrick’s Sunnylands estate has been roundly condemned in the community.

The daughter of the 73-year-old disabled woman has told how an unexpected visit at teatime on Friday saved her mother’s life.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said that a quantity of rubbish had been set on fire outside the bungalow at Fergus Court which spread to the property.

The fire service stated that the blaze had been started deliberately just feet away from the gas meter.

The pensioner’s daughter, who asked not to be named, saidshe raised the alarm after hearing a window cracking.

The woman credited her fire safety training for her quick-thinking actions.

She said: “When I heard the cracking, I thought it was kids hanging about. I opened the back door and saw that all the guttering had melted.

“I just slammed the back door and ran into the kitchen and closed the door. I put down a towel and ran to mum. The fire brigade were there in minutes. They were brilliant.”

She said that her mother did not want to leave the property which has been left with a smoke damaged kitchen and a broken window.

Police say that the incident could have resulted in a fatality if a family member had not arrived at the property.

A spokesperson for PSNI Carrickfergus stated: “It is only for the sheer coincidence of family members calling in with the resident shortly after that we are not investigating a fatal house fire.”

East Antrim DUP MLA David Hilditch who called with the family afterwards said: “This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour, putting people’s lives in danger. Once again, I am calling for an end to anti-social behaviour in this area of lower Sunnylands.”

UUP MLA John Stewart commented: “This elderly lady can hardly walk and had the fire spread quicker could have been seriously hurt or worse. I have made contact with the PSNI to find out what is being done to catch those responsible. This mindless thuggery can not be allowed to continue.”

PSNI Carrickfergus is appealing for witnesses who can call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and quoting reference 892 02/11/18.