Arson attack outside toddler’s window

Resident Andrew Curran pictured outside his home in Ballymagroarty with Sinn Fein Councillor Eric McGinley.
Resident Andrew Curran pictured outside his home in Ballymagroarty with Sinn Fein Councillor Eric McGinley.
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Arsonists who set fire to materials under the window of a room with a toddler in it have been branded ‘reckless’.

The two-year-old child and his family were said to have had a lucky escape after the blaze was discovered at Carleton Court in Ballymagroarty last Friday.

The household items set on fire had been gathered for collection by the council after the family renovated the room.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley condemned those involved in the apparently random attack at the rear of the property.

Colr. McGinley said: “The resulting fire led to the exterior window of a rear bedroom exploding with only the double glazing preventing injury to a small child who was in the room at the time.

“This type of random vandalism may appeal to those responsible, but it was only good fortune which prevented this incident from becoming a real tragedy and I would caution those involved to be aware of the serious implications of their actions and to refrain from any repeat.”

In another, unconnected arson attack yesterday morning, a shed at the back of a house in the Leafair Gardens area of the city was set alight.

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said that the attack was a major setback.

Colr. Tierney said: “A huge amount of work has taken place over the last number of weeks to defuse tensions in this area. Residents were beginning to get peace of mind that the anti-social behaviour which plagued their lives was coming to an end.

“That’s why we’ve had security gates installed and worked with the Housing Executive to clear an area to develop community allotments.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan also condemned the arson attack in Galliagh.

Colr. Hassan said the incident appears to have started around 7am, and that the culprits had most likely been out all night before starting the fire.

He urged local families to be vigilant in light of the episode and called on parents to make sure they know what their children are up to and where they are.