Arson attack on Belfast put lives at risk, says councillor
A senior fire officer has told how an east Belfast house was destroyed in an arson attack.
The property in the Castlereagh Parade area was set alight with five crews and an aerial appliance called to the scene around 1.50am yesterday.
Houses on either side of the building had to be evacuated while firefighters battled the blaze until 4am.
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) Eastern Area group commander Chris Fee said the fire had been started deliberately.
"The unoccupied house was completely destroyed and the homes on either side suffered smoke and water damage," he said. "It was a reckless act which put the lives of the people in the nearby homes at risk."
East Belfast DUP councillor Adam Newton said it was an "appalling" act of arson that put lives at risk.
"This is the third fire in the area in recent weeks," the councillor said.
"Damage to local flats through the setting alight of a mattress and the burning of play equipment in the nearby Flora Street children's playground gives cause for concern.
"While those incidents are not likely to be linked, anyone carrying out acts of arson is creating a potential life threatening incident."
A PSNI spokesperson said: "The report of the fire was received at around 1.45am.
"Unfortunately the house has been completely gutted, but thankfully no one was home at the time.
"Minor damage was caused to a neighbouring property, but no injuries have been reported."
They appealed for anyone with information to contact 101, quoting reference 137 of 23/04/19.