Residents lucky escape following suspected arson attack

The scene of the fire last night.

The scene of the fire last night.

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Residents in a flats complex in Derry were today said to have been lucky to escape with their lives following a suspected malicious fire last night.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has announced plans to convene a multi-agency meeting to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Gartan Square area of the Bogside following the fire.

A number of residents, some with young children, living in Gartan Square in the Bogside had to be evacuated during the blaze.

The fire was started in a bin shed adjacent to the end flat and main stairway from the complex on Thursday evening.

Councillor Kelly said: “The residents living in the top row of the flats had a very lucky escape tonight. “This fire was started in the shed at the end of the row which houses the bins for local residents. Flames engulfed the stairway and smoke entered a number of homes.

“I would like to commend those who raised the alarm and ultimately have saved lives here.”

Mr Kelly said he attended the scene with a representative of Community Restorative Justice to help residents in whatever way they could.

“Residents are very angry and still in shock,” he said.

“We have been trying to address a number problems of anti-community activity in and around the area over the past few weeks.

“I will be hosting a multi-agency meeting along with residents as a matter of urgency.

“Anyone who has information in relation to this incident should bring it forward to the PSNI straight away.”