The son of an elderly couple who were victims of an arson attack said his parents could have been killed if it wasn’t for the heroic actions of the people who saw flames coming from their Lambeg home.
In the early hours of Saturday morning Keith Elliott’s parents were alerted to a fire at their Moss Road house. A local couple who had Spanish friends staying with them in the area were driving home when they saw flames coming from the house.
A group of people had set fire to rubbish in a wheelie bin and placed it at the front door of the property. Police said a female passerby went into the house and woke the two elderly occupants. All three suffered smoke inhalation. A second person, a male, who came to the couple’s aid suffered burns.
Keith said: “Thankfully people in a car driving by saw the fire and raised the alarm by banging on the windows and they were able to put the fire out with a garden hose. One of them who was visiting from Spain has second degree burns after he pulled the bin away from the front door.”
Keith explained that his father, 70, was able to get Keith’s mother, 71, who has Alzheimer’s disease, to safety with the help of one of the rescuers.
“One of them went into the house and helped my dad get mum out as she can’t walk unaided.
“I am very thankful as they could’ve slept through it and another five minutes in that house it could have been a different story.”
“They aren’t too bad. They were shaken up at the weekend and suffered smoke inhalation but they were treated at the scene and spent the night at their next door neighbours house.”
Keith said the people who helped rescue his parents came to see them on Sunday. The Spanish visitors have since returned home but Keith would like to thank them personally.
“I really can’t thank them enough and would love to get in contact with them,” said Keith.
Talking about the motive for the attack Keith said: “I want to know what they were thinking. This was a genuine attempt to burn the house down and not a prank. They went to the effort of putting the bin against the door and then pulled the curtain through the letter box and set it alight.”
Police investigating the arson attack are also looking into a number of incidents of criminal damage in the same area.
A police spokesperson said: “The front window of a house on Moss Road was broken at around at around 12.40am, approximately the same time as the fire was reported. Police subsequently received reports of another window being broken and plant pots smashed at two properties in nearby Derryvolgie Park.”
Police are treating the fire as arson endangering life.
Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed any of these incidents or any suspicious people in the area to contact them on 0845 600 8000.