Would-be rescuer has narrow escape from Ballymena house blaze
A man has escaped serious injury after he tried to force his way into a burning house where he feared children's lives were in danger.
However, the Ballymena house targeted in an arson attack was in fact empty at the time.
It happened at 11pm on Friday in Queen Street, at the home of Ramona McFall (36).
A neighbour who spotted smoke ran to the nearby house of Ms McFall's mother Joan Gibson to raise the alarm.
The neighbour frantically yelled there was a fire at Ms McFall's home and that her own children "are in there" - but meant her youngsters were in her own house. However, Richard Brown (20) thought she meant they were trapped and bolted down the street on what he thought was a rescue mission.
"He ran down and tried to kick the door in and he was getting all the smoke. He was choking and had to go to hospital by ambulance, and they kept him up there for two or three hours but he is OK now," said Ms Gibson.
Ms McFall said it was lucky she and two of her children, aged 12 and eight who live with her, were not at home or they could have been killed.
Police said an accelerant was poured through the letterbox and set on fire.