Woman and two children lucky to escape injury in arson attack

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Detectives investigating an arson attack in The Birches area of Portadown on Saturday, November 12 have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Police and fire crews were called to the area at around 7am following reports that a number of wheelie bins had been set on fire outside a house.

“Extensive fire damage was caused to insulation within the property. Smoke damage was also caused to the front of the property,” a PSNI spokesperson explained.

“There was a woman and two children in the house at the time of the incident. One of the children was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.”

Local DUP Councillor Darryn Causby condemned the attack, warning that lives could have been lost.

“We are very fortunate that there was no loss of life,” he said. “I know the Fire Service were concerned about what might have happened if they’d got there five minutes later than they did as the property was filling up with smoke.

“This was a disgraceful attack on a peaceful community. Residents’ lives have been endangered by the reckless actions of others and I am just thankful that no one was seriously hurt. I would appeal to anyone with information to report it to the police.”

Meanwhile, at approximately 7.10am police received a further report that a portable toilet had been set on fire at a building site in The Birches, and shortly after 1.30pm another report that a window had been broken at a house in the Clonmakate Road area of Portadown.

The police spokesperson confirmed that officers are investigating a possible link between the three incidents.

“Anyone who has information about any of these incidents is asked to contact detectives at Reactive and Organised Crime, Lurgan on the non-emergency number quoting reference numbers 248; 253 and 599 of 12/11/16. Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111,” she added.