Belfast Telegraph

I am living in fear, says gran forced to flee blaze after arsonists strike

By Leona O'Neill

A grandmother has called on arsonists who set fire to a shed and the front of her home while she and her family were inside to tell her why she was targeted.

Jacqueline Holden (55) was putting her granddaughter to bed on Thursday shortly after 9pm when a neighbour burst into her house and alerted them to the blaze at Carnhill in Londonderry.

A wooden shed and large section of fence were incinerated, and several windows at the front of her home shattered due to the intensity of the flames. Mrs Holden said she hasn't been able to sleep worrying about those who set the blaze coming back.

"I was taking my granddaughter up to bed and my neighbour came in through the back door shouting that the whole back of my house was on fire," she said.

"The wooden shed was well ablaze and so was the fence, then the windows blew in with the flames and the back door is melted. It was terrifying.

"I ran out the front with my granddaughter in my arms and made sure everyone else was out. I was shaking with fear."

She added: "I haven't slept all night.

"If I had gone to my bed I don't know what could have happened.

"We could have been dead.

"I have no idea why anyone would want to do that to me.

"I am 55 years old and have lived in this house since I was eight. I don't bother anyone. I keep to myself.

"I am terrified that whoever did this will come back. I am living in fear of my life.

"I want to know why I was targeted."

Local independent councillor Warren Robinson said someone could have been killed.

He called on those engaged in anti-social behaviour to stop immediately.

"The family are understandably distraught after this attack," he said.

"I would appeal to whoever is carrying out these types of attacks to stop. There was a child of three years old in the home that could have been killed with the rest of the family. People who are doing this need to pull back before someone loses their life."

Belfast Telegraph

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