A fire which spread to an oil tank and forced a local woman to flee her bungalow originated in a wheelie bin, fire-fighter believe.
An investigation to establish whether the blaze at the laneway at Greenhaw Avenue in Derry on Tuesday night was deliberate was today under way at the scene.
A woman in her 60s was treated for shock after managing to escape when the fire spread to her house.
Fire-fighters confirmed that they received a call about the blaze at 8:25pm and remained at the scene until 12:52am on Wednesday morning.
Five Fire & Rescue Service pumps attended, and crews had to use breathing apparatus and jets to extinguish the fire.
As well as the extensive damage to the woman’s house, neighbouring homes and a car were also affected.
Sinn Féin Shantallow representative Neil McLaughlin said: “I was on the scene of incident last night and spoke to the women who lives in the house. This was a very frightening experience for her and local residents who were caught up in all this. Substantial damage has been caused to a number of homes in the street after it’s believed several bins in the laneway were set on fire which then spread to an adjacent oil tank.
“I would like to thank the prompt actions of the Fire Service and police in preventing this fire from spreading any further. And encourage anyone with information about this incident to bring it forward straight away.
Police meanwhile have appealed for information.
Police said that at around 8.30pm it was reported to police that a number of bins had been set alight in the Greenhaw Avenue, Shantallow area of Derry - which spread to a nearby oil tank at the back of a house in the area, causing it to go on fire.
Sergeant Swanson said: “The fire then spread to the house, causing substantial damage to the property and neighbouring homes.
“A women in her 60s who was inside the property at the time of the incident, but managed to get out.
“She was treated for shock at the scene. Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service attended the scene and dealt with the fire. There were no reports of any injuries.”
Police are also investigating a possible link to damage caused to a car parked in the Greenhaw Avenue area of Shantallow sometime between 9:30pm and 10:30pm.
“It is believed that a slate was thrown through the rear window of the car, causing damage to the vehicle,” added the PSNI spokesman.
“Enquiries are continuing and we would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact police at Strand Road on 101, quoting reference number 1330 9/4/19.
“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.”