Belfast Telegraph

Victim of arson attack hails town's public for support

By John Porter

A mother who was almost killed along with her young children and partner after their home went up in flames has thanked the public for the help and support they have offered over the past week.

Arsonists targeted Sarah Gibson's Rivarna Court home in Coleraine on Sunday in an attack that could have had tragic consequences.

Police are treating the incident as attempted murder.

Sarah and her two children - eight-year-old Josh and Jack (4) - have been forced to move into a women's refuge while her partner is living with relatives as the family search for a new home.

Sarah said: "I loved that house. But we can't go back, there are too many bad memories."

Sarah and Jack managed to escape from a bedroom window while her partner Martin and Josh had to wait to be rescued as firefighters tackled the inferno.

Martin was taken out of the home unconscious, and all four were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

One week on Sarah - who is three months pregnant - said the family were physically fine, but in "a total mess" emotionally.

The 26-year-old added: "The kids thought they were going to die. Josh bursts into tears when he thinks about it and I tell Jack he was like Batman escaping through the window to distract him from what happened.

"Every time I close my eyes I hear the sound of the smoke alarms going off. I can't rest knowing someone did this."

As well as their possessions, £1,000 in cash, which Sarah had borrowed to pay for Christmas presents, was destroyed in the fire.

She added: "The people of the town have been great.

"They have gone out of their way to help with food, bedding, clothes, even toothbrushes.

"They even set up a fund to help us.

"When I thank them, they say 'it's nothing', but it's amazing to know they have thought about me and the kids.

"I don't know about Christmas, but we are all together and alive and that's the main thing."

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