Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Houses damaged in camper van blaze

Four properties have been damaged by an arson attack in south Belfast.

On March 18, a camper van was parked beside a house in Ballarat Court and set alight.

The burning vehicle damaged the facias and guttering of four Housing Association properties and the blaze caused windows in the properties to break.

Phillip Robinson, Pottinger area UUP councillor said: “The vehicle was parked next to two houses — someone had torched it by the looks of things and it damaged several houses.

“Local families were inside and had to get out, they were very distressed by the incident.

“People could have lost their lives in the incident. Council cleansing teams came and gave the area a proper clean up.”

He said of the damage to the houses: “The fire damaged guttering and facias and also windows.

“We are in talks with the Housing Association — discussions are ongoing and I would like to think the Housing Association would replace the windows.”

The Housing Association involved — Belfast Community Housing Association — admits it is responsible for the repairs to guttering and other areas of the houses damaged by the fire, but not responsible for dealing with the glazing.

Scott Thompson, head of development and property services at BCHA explained the situation from the Housing Association’s perspective: “ There was an arson attack on a vehicle which resulted in fire and heat damage to a number of properties.

“The Housing Association is progressing repairs to the houses.”

He said of the issue regarding the glazing of the houses: “Glazing is a tenant responsibility, we advise they should take out home and contents insurance.

“The Association would have to make sure all items can be repaired however glazing is a separate item.”

He explained that Housing Associations across the UK follow a similar protocol.

“We have been involved in talks with an insurance company about getting a generous rate for tenants to have their glazing repaired.

“We have negotiated terms with an insurance company on the subject but we can’t recommend it, it is a decision for tenants to make and the offer is there for tenants.”

A spokesperson from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the incident.

They stated that a camper van had been set alight.

Two fire appliances from Central Fire Station attended the scene and extinguished the fire.

The spokesperson confirmed the fire was being treated as deliberate and that no injuries had been caused to people.

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