Oil tank blaze was started deliberately

Station commander Clive Lowry confirmed that a fire investigator would be on the scene this morning. (Pacemaker)
Station commander Clive Lowry confirmed that a fire investigator would be on the scene this morning. (Pacemaker)

A fire which spread to an oil tank and forced a local woman to flee her bungalow was started deliberately, an investigation has confirmed.

The probe was undertaken by the Fire & Rescue Service on Wednesday after it extinguished the blaze at a house in Greenhaw Avenue in Derry on Tuesday night.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service last night told the ‘Journal’ that following on from this, they had concluded that this was a deliberate attack.

It has also emerged that the fire was started in a wheelie bin before spreading to the oil tank.

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 on Tuesday and remained at the scene until 12:52 am on Wednesday.

Five Fire & Rescue Service pumps attended and crews had to use breathing apparatus and jets to extinguish the fire.

As well as extensive damage to the woman’s house, neighbouring homes and a car also suffered damage.

Sinn Féin Shantallow representative, Neil McLaughlin said: “I was at the scene of incident and spoke to the women who lives in the house. This was a very frightening experience for her and also for 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 the police in preventing this fire from spreading any further and I would 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 them that a number of bins had been set alight in Greenhaw Avenue, which then 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 was inside the property at the time of the incident, but managed to get out.

“The woman 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,” he confirmed.