Northern Ireland news

Suspected arson attack at New Lodge flats

Photos show extensive damage to flats on the New Lodge Road. Pic: Carál Ní Chuilín/Twitter

RESIDENTS at flats targeted in a suspected arson attack in north Belfast are "lucky to be alive", a Sinn Féin MLA has said.

Police said shortly after 6am this morning a fire was reported in a flat on the New Lodge Road and while in attendance the fire service discovered a blaze in a second flat. Both properties were damaged and a woman in an adjoining flat was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said: “People are lucky to be alive, but thankfully due to working smoke alarms in the homes, no one has been seriously hurt."

“Police and forensic teams on the scene have informed local residents that the fires are being treated as sinister.  

The scene on the New Lodge road in North after the house fires. Picture by Hugh Russell 

"Whilst it is unclear how this has happened, it is clear is that someone could have died as a result.

"I am working with the Housing Executive and local residents to ensure that the people affected are rehoused in adequate accommodation as soon as possible.”

Detective Inspector Denis McGaffin stated: “We are lucky not to be dealing with serious injuries or death as a result of this reckless action.

"A robust investigation has now commenced and I am appealing for anyone who witnessed the incidents or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact Detectives in Musgrave on 101 quoting reference 159 14/08/18."

The scene on the New Lodge road in North after the house fires. Picture by Hugh Russell 

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