Belfast Telegraph

Elderly couple evacuated as fire crews tackle blaze at adjoining north Belfast house

NIFRS warning: Derelict buildings are not playgrounds

By Claire Williamson

An elderly couple were evacuated from their home following an arson attack on an adjoining property.

The Northern Ireland Fire Service tackled the blaze at the vacant semi-detached house in Ligoniel.

It happened in the Glenview Avenue area shortly at before 7.30am on Saturday morning and is being treated as arson.

Four appliances and a total of 21 firefighters were sent to the blaze after the alarm was raised by an elderly couple living in the adjoining house.

NIFRS Station Commander Ken McEwan said the residents were wakened by the noise of youths in the house.

He said: "Upon discovery of the youths they discovered the place was on fire.

"On arrival of fire service discovered a well developed fire on the first and second floor in the derelict side of a 3 store semi detached premises.

"The house had been derelict for a number of years."

Mr McEwan issued a warning for parents to know where their children are playing and said that derelict buildings are not playgrounds.

"Crews worked hard in difficult conditions to minimise the damage to the occupied property due to condition of derelict property. I would like to advise all people to regularly check their smoke alarms and for parents to know where their children are playing. Derelict properties are not a playground.

"Luckily in this instance no-one was injured but the setting alight of a property put the lives of the neighbours at risk and due to the nature of the building, firefighters were also at risk at having to deal with a derelict premise."

Detective Sergeant Michelle Griffin would appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity to contact Detectives at Reactive and Organised Crime at Musgrave PSNI Station on the non-emergency number 101.

Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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