Firework is blamed as blaze destroys caravan

The aftermath of an arson attack on a caravan at Pinebank early on Tuesday morning. INLM43-211.
The aftermath of an arson attack on a caravan at Pinebank early on Tuesday morning. INLM43-211.

A TULLYGALLY man has spoken of his relief that no one was injured after his caravan was destroyed by a blaze in “less than two minutes” outside Pinebank home.

The caravan owner, Colm Black, and his neighbours rushed to their vehicles parked close by around 2.45am on Tuesday to stop the fire spreading after being awakened by a loud ‘bang’.

Mr Black told the ‘Mail’ that he saw his five-birth caravan on fire from his bedroom window and such was the ferociousness of the blaze, that he felt “intense heat” when he opened his back door.

“I heard a ‘bang’ and I looked outside and thought at first that the light was on in the caravan. By the time that I put on some clothes and got down the stairs and out the back door, the whole street was out and the caravan was burnt to the ground,” he said.

Fire crews from Portadown and Lurgan were tasked with tackling the blaze, using three jets to put the fire out. Three vehicles sustained significant scorch damage, including two cars belonging to Mr Black, as well as his garden fence, garage and a second caravan which he keeps in his side garden.

Mr Black said it was extremely fortunate that the fire did not spread to an oil tank situated beside his garage. “I only bought the caravan a couple days ago. It’s a bit of a hobby of mine; I have two other caravans but I got this one to strip for parts and luckily I removed the gas bottle. But I left my tools in it and they’re all destroyed.

“Thankfully no one was in the caravan at the time. My kids had asked to stay in it but I’ve always told them no. I’ve been told by the Fire Service that no accelerant was used, that it was probably a firework.”

Mr Black added that he blamed anti-social behaviour for the fire. “I’ve lived here 12 years and the neighbours are great. It’s a real quiet place. Nobody has anything against me.”

Mr Black’s wife, Siobhan said, “I’ll not sleep, thinking it will happen again.”

The couple praised the efforts of the Fire Service, who were on the scene “within minutes”.

“They were fantastic,” added Mr Black.