A young mother who found out by text message that her house was on fire has spoken of her devastation after the family home she planned to bring her newborn baby up in was destroyed by arsonists.
Julie McCartney (20) was texted by a friend that the Glen Road house where she and partner Paul had planned to start their life together in was on fire.
The couple had stayed at the address just days earlier with nine-week-old son Callum.
Paul started renting the house three weeks ago, but they had decided to stay with his mother on Saturday night.
Ms McCartney said: “I dread to think what would have happened if we had been in there. I am just devastated. No words can describe how I feel — I'm pure disappointed.
“I can't believe somebody would stoop that low to do that to a young family.
“We are only starting out. We were staying there two nights a week to start with and we were hoping to make a family home out of it.
“Now this has happened we can't exactly do that any more. As a family now, the three of us are homeless.”
Among the items destroyed were all of Paul's clothes and possessions and irreplacable photographs of the baby during his first nine weeks.
Little Callum's moses basket and pram were also destroyed. “These were things of sentimental value to Paul and myself,” Ms McCartney said.
Addressing those who carried out the attack, she added: “They need to catch themselves on and grow up. I'm only 20 and Paul is only 18 and we were trying to start a family life. For somebody to try and take that away it is just terrible.”
The Fire and Rescue Service hit out at the arsonists who started the blaze at around 3am on Sunday.
Firefighters said the family was lucky to have been away at the time of the blaze.
Station Commander Paul Coyle said: “We got a call at about 3am and when we arrived the fire had taken a good hold on the ground floor and the windows had blown in.
“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus made entry into the house and the house itself was very extensively damaged by fire, heat and smoke. The property was unoccuppied and the woman wasn't in at the time. We heard she had just had a new baby and this must have been absolutely shocking for them.”