A terrified Polish family were forced to flee their burning home in the middle of the night after a suspected arson attack on an apartment block.
Anna Gorczynska, along with her two-year-old daughter and 64-year-old mother, fled their flat in Cornmarket, Newry after it was engulfed in flames around 3am on Tuesday morning.
Their neighbour, fellow Polish national Marek Walesk, carried Ms Gorczynska and her daughter Patrizia to safety.
Ten foreign nationals were also rescued from the building as the fire took hold. Two children were among the rescued and five of the victims were brought to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The burned out apartment block was home to 16 immigrants, mainly of eastern European extraction. Six of the residents escaped the flames before the fire brigade arrived. Alarms installed in the building had failed to go off.
Police confirmed that they are treating the suspected arson as a potential hate crime.
Speaking to UTV news Mr Walesk said: “Everywhere was smoke. I was coming down and I saw fire everywhere. I called the fire station for help and I ran upstairs to try and wake everyone. I knocked here at the door because I saw fire going up.”
Asked why he thought someone may have set fire to the building, Mr Walesk said: “I don’t know, maybe for fun.”
Ms Gorczynska and her family have been contacted by the Housing Executive which is working to find them a suitable home.