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Newly-refurbished block of flats targeted in ‘sickening’ arson attack.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Newly-refurbished block of flats targeted in ‘sickening’ arson attack. thumbnail The block of flats in Lisnafin Park which were targeted in an arson attack on Sunday.

POLICE investigations are continuing after an arson attack at a newly-refurbished block of flats in the town.

The Housing Executive-owned properties in Lisnafin Park recently underwent a £200,000 makeover but one flat was completely gutted and other residents were evacuated when a ground floor property was set alight on Sunday.

Police say the fire was started deliberately and have appealed for information. No one was injured and the destroyed flat was empty at the time, they added.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Detectives are investigating an arson attack at an empty flat at Lisnafin Park, Strabane, in the early hours of Sunday, October 15.

"Police received a report of the fire at the ground floor flat at around 5.15am. The flat was gutted as a result of the blaze and a number of nearby properties were evacuated.

Enquiries into the incident are ongoing." Sinn Fein MLA., Michaela Boyle, has expressed her horror at the incident and warned it could have had tragic consequences.

She said: "People are shocked and horrified that this has happened and more-so given that it is a case of suspected arson.

"We could have been wakening up to a terrible tragedy this morning (Sunday) but thankfully the targeted flat was unoccupied at the time and adjoining properties were able to be evacuated by emergency services.


"It is equally sickening that this has happened to this block of flats, one of three in Lisnafin, which have just seen the completion of a substantial investment and upgrade by the Housing Executive.

"This upgrade work was in an effort to holistically tackle long-standing issues of poor living conditions and anti-social behaviour affecting the flats. So as an elected representative who lobbied statutory agencies for these improvements, I feel very dejected at this setback." The local MLA appealed for anyone with information about what happened to immediately contact the authorities.

SDLP MLA., Daniel McCrossan, also condemned the attack and described it as a "reckless act of complete idiocy." "This sort of reckless crime has no place in Strabane and it is an absolute travesty that social housing in the area has literally gone up in flames," he said. "The flats involved have recently undergone renovation by the Housing Executive to try and improve the living conditions of tenants or future tenants.

"But all this progress has now been destroyed and I'd imagine it will take considerable time before these flats are occupied again.

"The attack is very serious and I'd hope all those involved are apprehended.

Thankfully, no one was hurt and that we are not talking about any fatalities." Anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area or who has any information about this incident is asked to contact detectives at Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 539 15/10/17 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

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