A Castledawson woman has been left traumatised after a firework was thrown into her back yard igniting bins and a fence.
Mother-of-two Maureen Moore, who suffers from severe asthma and is awaiting surgery, said the incident has left her feeling vulnerable and isolated.
“I live alone here and bother with no one,” she said. “The fire was so intense it could have spread to the bungalow and garage.”
Luckily the flames from three bins were spotted by a neighbour on the Brough Road who, along with Maureen, attempted to bring the fire under control.
“When we put the hose on the flames they got worse,” she recalled. The incident happened at 2.30pm on Halloween and police were called.
“I was in the house but heard nothing and when I went out the whole thing was up in flames,” she went on.
Police are investigating the matter as a case of criminal damage caused by vandals.
“I’ve lived here for 11 years and keep myself to myself,” said Maureen. “This has left me a nervous wreck and I can’t sleep at night.”
She has suffered from asthma all her life but managed to work in a factory, shop and in foster care.
However, her health has deteriorated and now depends on benefits to get by and is anxiously awaiting a date for throat surgery.
Maureen said when she was told by Mid Ulster Council that she would have to replace the bins at a total cost of £195, she “nearly had a breakdown.”
“I told them that it was a malicious act and that I’ve had no bins for over a week,” she continued.
“But they insisted that I had to pay to replace the bins. I couldn’t believe it that someone through no fault of their own could be treated in such a way when asking for help.”
Since the fire, Maureen has been forced to keep her rubbish in bags.
“I felt like going out and throwing it along the roadside, I was so angry with their attitude,” she admitted.
A spokesperson for Mid Ulster Council told the Mail: “On review, and given the nature of the incident and the PSNI involvement, the Council has agreed to replace our customer’s three bins and she has already been informed.”