Woman and child forced from home following fire attack

Fire damage to the rear of two flats in Ratheen, Cookstown. Oil tanks were set on fire sometime in the early hours of Thursday morning. A numbe rof people have been evacuated from their homes.
Fire damage to the rear of two flats in Ratheen, Cookstown. Oil tanks were set on fire sometime in the early hours of Thursday morning. A numbe rof people have been evacuated from their homes.

A WOMAN and her young son have been forced from their Cookstown home following an early morning fire attack.

A number of homes were evacuated in the Ratheen area on Friday after two oil tanks were set on fire to the rear of homes.

Substantial damage has been caused to the rear of two flats where the fire broke out.

There has also been damage to the roof of one nearby house.

The lady, who left her home on Thursday morning with her nine year-old son, had been the victim of an arson attack in October.

A wheely bin had been set on fire and pushed up against the door of her ground floor flat.

She has now been placed in emergency Housing Executive accommodation.

“We need to wait for police forensics to do a full examination to see if this was accidental or malicious, we do know it is a hotspot for anti-social behaviour,” Cookstown District Chairman Tony Quinn said.

“This has affected so many families here this morning, it needs to be sorted and it needs to be sorted quickly, for everybody’s sake.

“It has to be said the vast majority of people who live in this area do so peacefully and quietly, and go about their business in a peaceful and quiet way. They don’t need this. It needs to stop.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Ciaran McElhone, who has family living in the area, appealed for anyone with information on the incident to contact police.

“Families here had a lucky escape,” he said.

“Some may not be in their homes for sometime. I appeal to anyone with information on this attack to pass it onto the police.”