Disgust and shock in local community after deadly fire attack in Galliagh

There is shock and disgust in Derry after arsonists blocked exits with a burning sofa and wheelie bins at a premises - a mother and a young child were inside the property at the time of the attack.

"We are really lucky we are not dealing with a tragedy in Galliagh this morning after last night events," said local SDLP Councillor, Brian Tierney.

"I have spoken to people within the area and they are shocked to hear what happened here last night.

"I would appeal to anyone with any information to bring it forward so we can ensure that something like this never happens again.

"My thoughts and those of the SDLP and with this young family at this time," added Colr. Tierney.

The scene of the fire. (Photo: Colr. Mellon/Facebook)

The scene of the fire. (Photo: Colr. Mellon/Facebook)

Detectives in Derry have launched an investigation into the incident which occurred in Galliagh Park on Sunday evening.

Detective Sergeant Jack said: “At around 9:55pm, it was reported that a sofa was found against the front door of a house and two wheelie bins at the back of the property. Both the sofa and wheelie bins were set alight.

"A 23 year old woman and her child were inside the house during the incident. Both were badly shaken, as Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service attended the scene and extinguished the fire."

D.S. Jack described the incident as 'reckless' and claimed those behind the attack "wanted to cause death".

“This was a reckless act that could have resulted in fatalities. Whoever was involved wanted to cause death and destruction and their actions should be condemned by the local community.

“Thankfully no one lost their lives but we need anyone with any information to contact police to bring those responsible to justice.

“Enquiries are continuing and we would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact detectives on 101, quoting reference number 1306 25/11/18. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

Sinn Fein Councillor, Aileen Mellon, was at the scene of the blaze and accused those responsible of “deliberately” putting people’s lives at risk.

“Absolutely shocked and disgusted tonight,” wrote Colr. Mellon on social media.

“Just back from Galliagh Park where a mother and her child's life was deliberately put at risk by thoughtless thugs who set fire to her home,” alleged Colr. Mellon.

“The mother, who is visibly shook up, has told me that she has had a number of issues with people lighting fires in her garden, stealing and lighting bins.

“To say I'm outraged is an understatement. This is a young single mother trying to create a home with her son - a very close miss of another tragedy tonight,” she added.