Northern Ireland news

Petrol bomb attack in Ballymena brings back memories of tragedy 19 years earlier

A window was smashed and scorch damage caused to a wall when a petrol bomb was thrown at a house in the Harryville area of Ballymena. Picture by Bill Smyth
by Nevin Farrell

A woman whose Co Antrim home was petrol bombed early yesterday has said the attack brought back memories of a tragedy almost two decades ago.

Samantha Kirk's house at Alfred Street Place in the Harryville area of Ballymena came under attack at 3.45am.

The 43-year-old, her son Rico (11), daughter Samara (18) and ex-partner Jason Kirk were all in the property but escaped injury.

Mr Kirk (43), whose brother Stephen (25) was murdered in a bar in Ballymena in 1998, spotted the flames and was able to raise the alarm.

Damage was caused to the outside of the house.

Samantha Kirk said the attack brought back memories of the tragedy 19 years ago but she did not know why the house was targeted.

"Thankfully nobody was hurt but if somebody throws a petrol bomb at a house it is attempted murder," she said.

"I have not a clue why this happened."

She said she had lived in the house for 14 years and did not know if she would stay in the Harryville house.

"There were four of us in the house. I was in my bed. I heard a bang but I never thought anything of it and my ex-partner, he was sitting in the living room and he heard the bang and saw the flames and then he shouted and I got the weans up," she said.

"Thankfully there was not much damage inside the house, just a bit of glass. The blinds must have stopped it a bit."

DUP MLA Paul Frew condemned the attack.

"This attack has caused a great deal of shock to the family involved and the wider community of Ballymena. Thankfully nobody was injured, but we could have a very different story emerging from this area today. Gas pipes were also damaged and could have caused loss of life," he said.

"I know many in the community including myself, cannot understand why this family home has been targeted in this way. This is a close knit community and one which does not want to have this type on activity taking place."

Police confirmed they believe a petrol bomb was thrown at the house.

"A window in the house was smashed and scorch damage caused to an exterior wall."

Anyone with information was asked to contact detectives or Crimestoppers.

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