Belfast Telegraph

Arson victim is still ‘critical’

by Natalie Irvine

The young woman who was critically injured after she was engulfed in a fire ball in her boyfriend's Newtownards apartment, remains fighting for her life in hospital.

The woman sustained serious burns to her face, arms and body after opening the door to a raging fire in the communal hallway of her Bristol Park home in the early hours of Sunday (November 7) — reports suggest she may also have broken her ankles and sustained a serious back injury after being forced to flee the flames by jumping out of her first floor window.

The woman was rushed to the Ulster Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Yesterday (Tuesday, November 9), a spokeswoman for the hospital described her condition as still “critical”.

Police are treating the blaze as arson and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them, a plea echoed by Strangford DUP MP Jim Shannon. “I would encourage the general public to contact the police and make them aware of anything that will lead to arrests. Whoever is responsible needs to be caught without delay,” he said.

“I’m shocked at what has happened and my thoughts are with this young woman and her family at this very difficult time.

“She has been left with two broken ankles and other injuries as a result of criminal activities.

“Luckily other residents managed to get out of the flats to safety. This awful behaviour could have robbed people of their lives.

“The good and decent people who live in the West Winds estate are appalled, annoyed and deeply concerned by this dreadful incident and they will wish to see the law of the land in operation.”

Neighbours who saw the horrific events unfold and some family members of the those caught in the blaze have praised all the emergency services who responded to the emergency.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service group commander John Denvir said: “The Fire service was called to a flat fire at 5am on Sunday morning. When we arrived nine people had evacuated the flats and there was an intense fire burning in the common stairwell of the building. The Fire Service used six breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire. Four people were taken to hospital, three suffering from smoke inhalation and one female casualty who had received more serious injuries.

“All the occupants had been alerted by the smoke alarm, which undoubtedly saved lives.”

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