Woman left fighting for her life after blaze leap
A young woman is in a critical condition in hospital following an arson attack in Newtownards.
A scooter was set on fire in a communal hallway at flats on Bristol Park in the West Winds estate in the early hours of yesterday morning.
After hearing noise outside, the woman in her 20s opened her front door and was engulfed in a fireball.
She sustained serious burns to her face, arms and body.
The burning woman fled from the fire by jumping from the first floor flat window, sustaining serious injuries to her feet and back.
Her boyfriend is also reported to have jumped to safety.
The woman was taken to the Ulster Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Last night, a spokeswoman for the hospital described her condition as “critical”.
Police are treating the blaze as arson and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them, something reiterated by Newtownards DUP councillor 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.
“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.
“I’m shocked at what has happened and my thoughts are with this young woman and her family at this very difficult time.
“The poor lassie is in intensive care with severe burns and the next 48 hours will be tough for her family.
“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.”
Fire 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.
He added: “All the occupants had been alerted by the smoke alarm, which undoubtedly saved lives.”