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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 August 2006, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Loyalists blamed for arson attack
The house was badly damaged in the attack
Police have said loyalists were behind an arson attack on a family home in north Belfast.

Three-month-old Molly Magennis and her mother Juanita were sleeping when the arsonists struck. They were alerted by neighbours at about 0600 BST on Sunday.

The house in Old Throne Park in the Whitewell area was badly damaged. Molly's father, Michael McGennis, said he was relieved no-one was hurt.

"I can't begin to describe how I feel. It was total shock," he said.

Firefighters said the flames were 20ft high when they arrived. Station Commander Mark Beresford said the people were very fortunate to escape.

"I think they were alerted fairly early on. One of the neighbours knocked the door and at the same time, the windows started to smash so the woman and the child were able to get out fairly quickly," he said.

"They were fairly lucky, if it had of been much longer this could have been a tragedy."

The fire had spread from a fence to an oil tank and a shed.

Sinn Fein councillor Tierna Cunningham said the family's lives had been put at risk.

"They are a young couple with a young baby, trying to make a start in life, and this type of thing, in this day and age, is not on," she said.

"The grass is completely covered with oil, the windows are burned out and the house is completely black at the back."

The couple and their baby have gone to stay with relatives.

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