Northern Ireland

Londonderry arson attack: Scorch damage caused to door at pensioner's home

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Media captionThe front door was left damaged by the fire after flammable liquid was poured through the letterbox

There has been an arson attack at the home of a 70-year-old woman in Londonderry.

Police said flammable liquid was poured through the letterbox of a house in Camelia Court in the Top of the Hill area on Monday evening and set alight.

The pensioner was able to extinguish the fire, which caused scorch damage to a door.

Youths threw missiles at police who attended and the back windscreen of a police vehicle was smashed.

'Anger'

Margaret O'Hara, who lives alone, told BBC Radio Foyle that it was a terrifying ordeal.

"I opened the door and I thought I was in towering inferno, the flames were flying up. I put it out and I went straight to the phone and rung the police.

"The police wanted to put me into hospital last night because I breathed in the smoke. I'm 70 and I have a lot of illnesses and I didn't sleep until five this morning. I'm just shocked that anybody would go to these lengths.

"Just anger, anger, anger I have and why not? In my day we went to help old people."

Local community worker Geraldine O'Donnell said residents were aggrieved by the attack.

"She was watching TV and smelt what she thought was burning. She came out into the hallway and saw the front door on fire.

"She was able to get a basin of water and douse the fire. She was very lucky, because the outcome of this could have been more tragic than just scorch damage.

"There was fear, there was anger. She was shocked to say the least."

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