Belfast Telegraph

Family escape unscathed after neighbour uses hose to put out car fire following arson attack

By Chris McCullough

Police have praised the actions of a quick-thinking neighbour in Banbridge who put out a fire in a car which had been set alight by an incendiary device.

Around 3am yesterday morning, a fire broke out in a car parked outside a house in Larchwood Court in the County Down town but fortunately a second device failed to ignite.

Residents of the property, including four children, were lucky to escape injury when the two crude devices, said to be containers of flammable liquid, were placed under their two cars.

Police are working to establish a motive for the attack.

Local politicians have condemned the incident and have told the "thugs" responsible to "clear out of Banbridge."

A female in the property discovered the fire around 3am and ran across the road to alert a neighbour who managed to extinguish the fire in the family's Peugeot sports car with a garden hose before the Fire Service attended.

Minutes later they discovered a second device in another car but it had failed to ignite.

Police are appealing for information regarding the incident.

The neighbour who came to the rescue said he doused the engine with a hose to put the fire out.

"The Fire Brigade came shortly afterwards," he said. "This is a really quiet residential area. The situation could have been much worse had the second device gone up in flames."

This is the second such incident in a week in this normally quiet area of Banbridge.

Police are investigating after another car went on fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning just a few metres down the road. Police Sergeant Billy Stewart commended the efforts of the neighbour who put out the flames.

He said: "The two devices were plastic containers of flammable liquid with some form of ignition material wrapped around them.

"Only one of them was set alight but it was down to the quick actions of the neighbour who managed to put the fire out.

"We could have been dealing with something a lot more serious here. All avenues of inquiry are open but we don't think there is any paramilitary link here. This is a very quiet residential area of Banbridge and it's not something that we're used to up here, so everybody concerned is extremely traumatised in relation to the incident.

"If anyone has any information about this incident, please get in touch with us on the non-emergency 101 number."

The police also confirmed that the family is not known to them and that a link to anyone in the armed forces was not being investigated.

Ulster Unionist councillor Glenn Barr said those responsible should "clear off out of Banbridge as they are not wanted in the town."

Mr Barr said: "I condemn this attack outright. Banbridge is a lovely town but there are thugs and criminals running around our streets. They are not wanted and my message to them is to clear off out of Banbridge and leave ordinary civilians alone.

"Children were in that house and I don't want to think what could have happened had both these cars caught fire. The family was very lucky to escape unharmed."

DUP MLA Sydney Anderson also condemned those responsible. He said: "This irresponsible action could have killed. Anything could have happened.

"We do not need this type of action. People should be allowed to live in peace without fear.

"I urge the police to investigate this and find those responsible as quick as possible."

Belfast Telegraph

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