Neighbours speak of frantic efforts to rescue petrol bomb victim

The scene of Friday night's fire at Benvarden Avenue. (0705PG07)
The scene of Friday night's fire at Benvarden Avenue. (0705PG07)

A neighbour of a man left critically ill after he was set alight in a petrol bomb attack has spoken of the frantic efforts to rescue him.

Thomas Curry (45) is in a critical condition in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital after petrol bombers targeted his home on Friday night.

Three people - a 44-year old woman and two men aged 24 and 25 - are currently helping police with their enquiries following the attack that saw two petrol bombs thrown through the window of a house in Benvarden Avenue.

Neighbour Harry Morrow was among the first on the scene.

“It was about 11 o’clock and I heard these four loud bangs. I went out into the street and the smoke was already belching out through the windows,” he told the Journal this morning.

While his wife phoned 999, Harry joined other neighbours as they kicked down the door of Tommy’s home.

Harry and another neighbour Ivan Ballard entered the house.

“I could hear Tommy moaning and groaning. Somebody had a sweatshirt that Ivan put over his face and he went in. But he came back out and said it was far too hot to go in.”

Harry also tried to enter put he was forced back out because of the intense heat and thick smoke.

“About a minute later Ivan went back in and was able to grab Tommy and drag him out of the living room, then we were able to pull him out onto the street.,” Harry said.

“Tommy was able to say no one else was in the house, but you could tell he was in a bad way.”

Harry said his neighbour is a “quiet civil man” and said he believed he has been the victim of mistaken identity.

Speaking at the weekend, PSNI Inspector Jon Burrows said: “This was an exceptionally nasty attack and if it wasn’t for the bravery of residents in this area, we’d be dealing with a murder investigation today.

“It was a targeted attack and the people behind it knew exactly what they were doing. They broke the window and threw this petrol bomb in. It hit the occupant of the house, who was set alight.”