Londonderry: Four escape from burning house after doorway blocked by arsonists

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Media captionFour people escaped from an arson attack in Londonderry, as Keiron Tourish reports

Four people have escaped from a burning house after an arson attack in Londonderry.

The police said furniture appeared to be deliberately placed against the front door and set alight.

The emergency services were alerted to the fire at Drumard Park at about 03:00 BST on Tuesday. The people in the house escaped through the backdoor.

The family said they are distressed and do not know why they have been targeted.

Image caption Police believe old furniture was placed against the door of the home

Annie Stokes said her 63-year-old mother was asleep in bed when the alarm was raised.

"My brother smelled the smoke and he came down the stairs running. Everybody just took running out the back door," she said.

"He managed to get them all out."

Ms Stokes said her family were lucky to be alive.

Image caption Annie and Lena Stokes said the whole family was in "shock"

"It's shocking. My mother is here nearly 40 years, her family were reared here. For this here to happen, it would make anybody cry.

"There could have been lives taken in that house last night. There could have been a death in that house.

"She's in there crying her eyes out, she's in shock from what happened. Thank God nothing happened to them.

Image caption The front of the house has been badly damaged

"Whoever done it should show their face and apologise for what they done," Ms Stokes added.

Police have yet to establish a motive for the blaze and have appealed for information.

The premises was badly damaged in the attack.