Belfast Telegraph

Duo quizzed over arson attack at Antrim flats

CHRIS KILPATRICK

A LONG-running feud between families is being blamed for an arson attack which hospitalised police officers and nearby residents.

A flat at Tiger Court in Antrim was targeted in the early hours of yesterday.

Windows were smashed at the property and a fire started.

A number of residents and two officers who helped move people from the flats were taken to hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation. A third officer was treated at the scene.

A police patrol car was damaged when it came under attack from stone-throwing youths.

Two men were seen running from the area, according to police.

Two men – 22 and 18 – were later arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. They were released on police bail last night.

A neighbour said tensions had been high in the estate in recent months following a fall-out between local families.

Graffiti was visible on the front of the property attacked, which also had a number of windows boarded up as a result of a previous incident.

It is understood nobody was in the flat during yesterday's attack.

"There have been a few different things going on as past while but this is the most serious," the neighbour said.

"It's pretty scary. I have young children so the last thing you want is this on your doorstep."

Local political representatives visited the scene yesterday.

Alliance councillor Neil Kelly said: "Lives could have been lost in this fire. There is no justification for this attack."

DUP MLA Trevor Clarke said: "It's very disappointing. Whatever information anybody has regarding this incident must bring that forward so those responsible can be brought to justice."

Mr Clarke said there was no suggestion of paramilitary involvement in the attack.

Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

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