Belfast Telegraph

'Someone could have been killed' - Police seek two youths following arson attack in Downpatrick

by Gareth Cross

Police investigating an arson attack in Downpatrick are looking to talk to two youths seen in the area immediately before the fire.

The attack took place in the Ballymote Walk on Friday evening.

The fire spread from a garden shed to a pensioner’s home was and his mobility scooter was completely destroyed as a result.

SDLP MLA Colin McGrath said the area has been plagued with anti-social behaviour in recent months.

"It was an act of vandalism that progressed to serious arson," the South Down MLA said.

"The residents in the area are all elderly and vulnerable and they don't need this sort of behaviour in the community.

"We need to get a co-ordinated inter-agency response to prevent this in the future and protect the residents."

Mr McGrath said he had raised the issue with the Chief Constable in recent months.

"I have been saying for months that something serious will happen if the issue is not addressed.

"The man who lives in the house is on oxygen and had he been in the house he could have been killed.

"The Fire Service's response was fantastic, it was immediate and they prevented it from spreading to other properties.

"Your heart goes out to the residents, they are living in an area where they are being tortured and something needs to change for them"

A Fire Service spokesperson confirmed that they attended the blaze around 7:30pm on Friday, May 4th.

"There was a fire in a garden shed which quickly spread to the roof of a terraced bungalow," the spokesperson said.

"The older person who lives there wasn't present, and firefighters quickly extinguished the fire with two jets.

"Some spoke spread into the adjacent bungalow and that was also dealt with.

"Early indications would suggest the fire was deliberate and we have passed it on to the PSNI."

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