Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Galliagh family escape arson attack

A Londonderry family were today in temporary accommodation after their Galliagh home was destroyed in an arson attack.

The attack occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning as the family slept in their beds.

The blaze also gutted the adjoining Good Morning Galliagh premises and another house at the block of terraced housing in Fergleen Park.

A fourth dwelling in the row was smoke damaged.

A 19-year-old man arrested in connection with the fire was released on bail yesterday afternoon.

A fire crew arrived at the scene at around 1am on Saturday after being inundated with calls.

Neighbours helped a couple and their two-year-old daughter to safety as their home burned down around them while another family also managed to flee.

The 15 workers at the Good Morning Galliagh Service were this morning trying to contact their 650 elderly clients.

The service - which has spread from Galliagh throughout the North West due to its success - provides free security measures for elderly people and a phone and drop-in service to attend to their needs.

Community worker Ollie Green, who helped run the service, said today local people were disgusted and angry over what happened.

Urging local people to help the families affected in whatever way they can, he said: "This young couple and the couple next door have been left with nothing. For them to have to stand and watch their homes go up in flames, it's shocking.

"People around here were shocked and very, very angry."

Mr Green added: "Our centre is completely gutted and there was nothing retrievable out of the building."

SDLP councillor for the area, Mary Bradley, added: "No-one has any right to do that to community buildings or family homes.

"This was a total attack on the whole community. Galliagh has moved on and the people there are good people. This is the last thing they want or need."

In another arson attack in Strabane last night, a number of people were also escorted from a block of flats.

Crews were called to Lisnafin Park after a piece of bed linen was set alight in a corridor.

The Fire and Rescue Service said that scorch damage was caused.

Group Commander Eamonn Gallagher said: "It appears that a piece of bedding was set alight and the exact cause is still under investigation."

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