Mum's Christmas ruined after arsonists destroy her home

Christmas has been ruined for a 35-year-old mum after cruel arsonists destroyed her home and all her belongings.

Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 11:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:17 pm
Sarah Harper surveys the fire damage to her bedroom. INLM50-206.

Sarah Jane Harper was in shock when she returned to her Craigavon home to find it completely gutted.

She said she had spend the night with family as she was ill and returned to her home in Enniskeen at noon on Sunday to find her house broken into and the contents still smouldering and warm.

The traumatised mum said she was gutted as she surveyed the enormous damage caused to her home, particularly presents she had bought for her children and special momentoes left to her by her father who passed away earlier this year.

Sarah Harper in one of her fire damaged bedrooms. INLM50-205.

Soot has blackened all the walls and what was once a couch now appears just a scorched wire shell.

“The TV was stolen,” said Sarah, adding that the culprits must have broken in through the front door.

“The heat of the flames has smashed the windows.

“They must have set fires all over the place,” she said adding they appear to have started fires on both beds upstairs as well as downstairs.

Sarah Harper. INML50-204.

Sarah believes the fire must have been ignited sometime after 5am on Saturday morning and before she returned home at noon.

The NI Fire and Rescue Service said two appliances from Lurgan and Portadown attended and the nature of the fire was described as ‘deliberate’

She said a gang of youths had been seen in the area at around 5am near the house.

Visibily upset, Sarah is still in shock and just doesn’t know how she is gong to manage through Christmas.

Sarah Harper. INLM50-203.

She said she had a load of presents particularly for her youngest two aged five and four years old.

She said the neighbours never heard the fire and it was she who called the emergency services when she arrived at noon on Saturday.

“I have lost everything,” said Sarah as she stood in her kitchen among sooted cupboards and melted appliances.

Canvas posters of her children have been scorched into the wall and a box of irreplaceable family photos destroyed.

Sarah Harper in her fire damaged living room. INLM50-202.

All her furniture is burnt and unusable. Even clothes she had drying over radiators have been ruined.

Two special ornaments given to her by her dad before he died earliers this year still stand on the mantlepiece but are destroyed by the fire.

“These aren’t things I can replace,” she said.

Asked what she thought of those who did it and she said: ‘Karma’.

The PSNI said it received a report of a house fire in the Enniskeen area of Craigavon around noon on Saturday 10 December.

Detective Sergeant Colin Patterson said: “There were no reports of any injuries; however damage was caused to the property. We are treating the fire as suspicious at this stage.

Sarah Harper in one of her fire damaged bedrooms. INLM50-205.

“Detectives in Craigavon are currently making further enquiries. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 608 of 10/12/16. Alternatively, callers can use the Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111 to report information anonymously.”

Sarah Harper. INML50-204.
Sarah Harper. INLM50-203.
Sarah Harper in her fire damaged living room. INLM50-202.