Belfast Telegraph

Four people rescued after arson attack at east Belfast flats

A PSNI officer at the scene of the fire at Rosneath Gardens
A PSNI officer at the scene of the fire at Rosneath Gardens
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Residents of an east Belfast estate have spoken of their shock after an arson attack on Sunday night.

Police remained at a block of flats in the loyalist Ballybeen estate in Dundonald on Sunday afternoon, with the building still cordoned off to residents.

The front door of the building in Rosneath Gardens was sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire before the alarm was raised at around 9.40pm.

Two appliances from Knock Fire Station and another from Central Fire Station attended the scene.

Firefighters rescued two men and two women while using breathing apparatus and hose reel jets to extinguish the blaze.

There were no injuries but damage was caused to the front door by the time the incident was dealt with at around 10.20pm.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) confirmed that the flame was started by "deliberate ignition".

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Andrew Potts (45) has lived in the area for five years and said the reckless attack had put lives at risk.

"It's so dangerous," he said.

"It's mainly single people around here as the apartments are largely one-bedroom flats.

"It's the first I've ever heard of something like this happening.

"You do hear the odd party going on but that's really it."

Another resident commented: "It's scary, nothing ever happens around here.

"It's a brilliant and very quiet estate to live in. I don't know why (those responsible) did it, but if they come to my door I know what I'll do."

Craig Hamilton (43), who has lived in the area for 14 years, said he saw emergency services and was alarmed to learn the attack had been deliberate.

Detective Sergeant Cargin has appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

"NIFRS has ruled this to be deliberate ignition, and so we are treating this as arson," he said.

"The front door of the property in Rosneath Gardens was sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire.

"Thankfully there were no injuries. However, there was damage caused to the front door."

He added that police were keeping "an open mind" about a motive at this stage.

Anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity has been asked to call detectives on 101, quoting reference number CCS 1600 of January 12.

Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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