Londonderry oil tank explosion caused by fire

Celine and Jude McKinney
Image caption The fire caused Mrs McKinney's oil tank to melt to the ground

An 84-year-old woman in Londonderry said she was left badly shaken after a fire near her home caused an oil tank to explode.

Celine McKinney was asleep in her home at Donal Casey Court on Friday night when a nearby hedge fire spread into her garden causing the oil tank to explode.

The fire also damaged Mrs McKinney's back door and roof tiles.

The Fire Service said it believed the fire was started deliberately.

Mrs McKinney's son Jude told BBC Radio Foyle that his mother had a lucky escape.

"It was very scary for her, she had to be helped by neighbours and taken over to the social centre at Oaklee. The oil tank has been gutted, the fence has been gutted and all her back windows and doors have all been scorched.

"There's serious damage to the back of the house and the slates on the roof. Obviously I was very shocked myself but the most important thing was to make sure that Celine was safe and not too distressed."

Mr McKinney said those responsible for starting the fire need to realise the consequences of their actions.

"The damage, the shock and the fear it puts into people especially those who are older or vulnerable is terrible. The tank just doesn't exist anymore, it looks like a flattened milk carton.

"My whole family is very upset because my mum is living on her own, my dad only passed away nine weeks ago and she's still trying to come to terms with that so it's very sad."

Image caption The rear of the house was worst affected by the fire