An elderly couple sleeping when their Moss Road home was set on fire say they owe their lives to the people who alerted them to the fire.
Stanley Elliott, 70, and his wife Eleanor, 71, were in bed when a group of people set fire to rubbish in a wheelie bin and placed it at the front door of the property.
In the early hours of Saturday August 24 a neighbours in the area saw flames coming from the house. Police said a female passerby went into the house and woke the couple.
All three suffered smoke inhalation. A second person, a male, who came to the couple’s aid suffered burns.
Stanley explained that he was terrified when he was woken by people shouting outside his home.
“I thought it was a crowd wanting to give me a hiding,
“It took me a while to realise the people were shouting that my house was on fire.
“It was frightening as I realised we needed to get out as soon as possible.”
Stanley said: “Thankfully people in a car driving by saw the fire and raised the alarm by banging on the windows and a neighbour was a 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.”
Stanley explained that was able to get his wife who suffers from Alzheimers Disease to safety with the help of one of the rescuers.
“I am very thankful as we could’ve slept through it and another five minutes in that house it could have been a different story.”
Stanley said this was the first time they have experienced trouble and appealed to the people responsible to think about the consequences of their actions. We could’ve been dead if it wasn’t for those people who helped us.
“I’d say drink and drugs played their part but there’s no two ways about it - the fire could’ve been fatal.
“I can’t thank the people who helped us for their selfless acts and our neighbours for looking after us.
“A special thanks must also go to Councillor Paul Givan MLA ,Jonathan Craig MLA and the Mayor Margaret Tolerton who offered us great support and spent time with us after the fire,” said Stanley
Police investigating the arson attack are also looking into a number of incidents of criminal damage in the same area and are treating the fire as arson endangering life. Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed any suspicious people in the area to contact them on 0845 600 8000.