Northern Ireland news

Two men questioned over arson attack on pensioner's home in Co Down

A woman's home was targeted in the arson attack. Picture by Bill Smyth
Gareth McKeown

TWO men are being questioned after an arson attack on a female pensioner's Co Down home.

Anne Reid, who is in her early seventies, was at her house on Glenard Road in Newtownards when a fire broke out before 1.25am on Tuesday.

A flammable liquid had been poured through her letterbox and set alight.

Mrs Reid, who lives on her own and has suffered a stroke and lung cancer, managed to put out the fire and ring her son Gary.

She said she only spotted the fire because she felt unwell during the night and had got up.

"If it hadn't have been for the way it was last night, having to get up and then discovering what was outside, I mightn't be here," she told UTV.

But she did not realise the front door was still on fire on the outside. Gary Reid arrived but could not get into the house and later collapsed.

"I thought he was taking a heart attack...too much stress," Mrs Reid said. A second fire was later discovered at the back door.

Two men, aged 38 and 40, were arrested a short time later on suspicion of arson endangering life.

Police have appealed for information.

An elderly woman has been forced to extinguish a fire during an arson attack at her home in Newtownards. Picture by Bill Smyth 

Newtownards DUP councillor Naomi Armstrong-Carter described the attack as "despicable" and urged anyone with information to come forward.

"This was a shocking attack on a vulnerable lady, and we could have been waking up to a tragedy this morning," she said.

"Anyone who has any details on what happened must help police as a matter of urgency."

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