House destroyed in Newtownabbey arson attack
A house has been completely gutted a suspected arson attack in Newtownabbey.
The blaze, which also damaged a neighbouring house, happened at around 2pm on Saturday in the Birchmount area.
It is believed a recycling bin behind the property was set alight and the flames spread to the two homes.
Two cars parked outside the house were also extensively damaged, in addition to an electricity substation - leaving 50 nearby homes without power.
Police set they are working to established a motive for the attack and appealed for anyone with any information to contact them on 101, quoting reference 675 13/04/19.
Stephen Ross, a DUP councillor for the area, visited the scene on Saturday and said a deliberate arson attack was "the last thing on anyone's mind".
"There was one man in the house at the time, the one that was completely gutted, and a family in the house next door," he said.
"Thankfully we're not talking about deaths here, but property damage.
"This is a well-settled area, mainly families and older people who have been here for decades. I wouldn't like to think anyone was deliberately targeted."
Ulster Unionist Alderman Fraser Agnew said he thought the incident could be the result of "anti-social behaviour".
"The police have said they are treating it as arson, but the only thing I can thinks of is that this is down to anti-social behaviour." he said.
"I can think of no possible motive for this. This is a very quiet, very peaceful area. Resident's are in complete and utter shock that this could happen."
Belfast Telegraph Digital