A Lisburn man has paid tribute to a pair of Spanish tourists who saved his elderly parents from a burning house.
Stanley and Eleanor Elliott had been asleep at home on Moss Road in Lambeg in the early hours of Saturday morning when a burning wheelie bin was pushed up against their front door.
A curtain inside the house was also tugged out of the letterbox and set alight.
The tourists had been passing the house at around 12.30 and came to the rescue, dousing the flames with a garden hose and also helping 70-year-old Stanley and 71-year-old Eleanor out of the smoke-filled house.
The couple and one of the tourists were treated for smoke inhalation while the other tourist sustained second degree burns on his leg.
They were understood to have flown home to Barcelona yesterday, but called to check on the couple they saved before leaving.
The couple's son Keith told the Belfast Telegraph that the tourists had been trying to pull the burning bin away from the door of the home when it toppled over, injuring the man's leg.
“One of them ended up with second or third degree burns. They had to put the fire out with a garden hose, and were pulling the bin away from the door when it toppled over on to this person's leg,” he said. “I understand they were treated in the Royal over the weekend.”
Keith agreed that the tourists had been very brave and paid tribute to them.
“One of them helped get my mum out of the house because she can't walk the best,” he said.
“I didn't meet them but they called round to see my dad yesterday evening to see if they were okay.”
The family rolled up their sleeves over the weekend to repair some of the damage caused by the fire to ensure the elderly couple would be able to return.
Keith said: “The hall was badly damaged and there was a lot of smoke damage throughout the house.
“But they are back in the house. We managed to get the house into a reasonable condition for them to move back in. The problem is that because my mum has Alzheimer’s we had to try and get her into a care home, but once we got the house reasonably well sorted out, my dad was keen to stay there.”
The pensioners are related to Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy, who condemned the attack.
Police are appealing for information saying: “At approximately 12.40am (on Saturday), police received a report that a wheelie bin had been pushed up against the front door of a house and burning items were put through a letterbox. A passer-by went into the house and woke the two elderly occupants. All three suffered smoke inhalation. A second person who came to the couple's aid suffered burns.
“Police would ask anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity to contact them at Lisburn on 0845 600 8000.”