Northern Ireland

Ballymena arson: Occupants rescued from house

A number of people have been led to safety during an overnight arson attack at a house in Ballymena, County Antrim.

The living room of the property in Francis Street was damaged in the attack which took place at about 01:40 BST on Wednesday.

Ballymena councillor Donna Anderson said three young children were in the house at the time of the attack.

Police would only confirm that "several people" were in the property and that they all escaped without injury.

However, Ballymena PSNI Commander, Ch Insp Stephen McCauley, said the attack could have caused death or serious injury.

The police and the Fire and Rescue Service attended the incident and the fire was extinguished.

'Very dangerous'

Forensic officers are currently conducting an examination of the scene.

In a PSNI statement, Mr McCauley said: "Thankfully we are not dealing with fatalities or serious injury here.

"The attack was crude but also very dangerous.

"Police officers and the fire service arrived quickly on the scene to help the occupants of the house and take them to safety."

Ms Anderson, a Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) councillor in the town, visited the house on Wednesday morning to offer the family her support.

She described the attack as "utterly reprehensible".

"Those responsible displayed a callous disregard for human life - including the lives of the three young children in the home."

She appealed to anyone with information to contact the police.