Belfast Telegraph

Heroic terrier Holly raises alarm after Coleraine arson attack

By Ivan Little

She is the pet puppy they are calling Holly the heroine.

A Coleraine couple have thanked their 17-week-old Yorkshire Terrier for raising the alarm after their home was attacked by arsonists.

Yvonne Peters said she and her husband were alerted to the blaze in their home in the Millburn Road area of the town by Holly shortly after it started.

"We had let Holly out into the back garden to answer a call of nature and I went back to watch the television," explained Mrs Peters.

"But all of a sudden we heard Holly barking and we knew that something was wrong. We went out to see that the fire was taking hold of our shed.

"We immediately phoned for the emergency services and got out of the house as fast as we could with Holly."

Mrs Peters praised the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service for their rapid response and professionalism in tackling the blaze.

"The shed was gutted but the fire crews stopped the flames reaching a gas tank," she added.

"I dread to think what would have happened if the fire had spread there."

The blaze scorched a wall of the house and there was smoke damage to the kitchen.

But the Peters say that had it not been for Holly, things could have been much worse.

"If she hadn't been barking and made us realise there was a fire, we could have lost the house," Mrs Peters added.

Police are investigating the arson attack, which is the third in the area in recent weeks.

In another incident a toy shed at the nearby Millburn Primary School was destroyed.

And sheds were again the target earlier this month for arsonists in an attack on the award-winning Cornfields environmental project which has been transforming a piece of waste land between the Ballysally and Millburn estates.

The PSNI are trying to establish if the three attacks were linked.

The Peters have lived in their home for 22 years and said they have never had any trouble before.

The couple have no idea why anyone would have wanted to target them.

Police sources say they believe vandals were responsible and the Peters have appealed for the public to be vigilant.

Mrs Peters added: "My message to people would just be to keep an eye on their property and report anything suspicious to police.

"And if anyone knows who attacked our house, I would ask them to contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers with their information."

The Peters lost all their gardening equipment and decorating tools in the fire, but are still making a fuss of Holly.

Mrs Peters added: "We only got her a couple of months ago. We had another wee Yorkshire Terrier called Chloe for 17 years, and several years after her death we decided it was time to find ourselves another one."

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