Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Three held over flat arson attack at north Belfast flat

Two people had to be rescued from the flat

A fire which destroyed a north Belfast flat is believed to have been started deliberately.

A man and a woman were rescued from a first floor flat in the Ballysillan Road area at about 2030 GMT on Wednesday.

They were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. Three people have been arrested and are being questioned about the incident.

The flat is above a post office which was affected by water damage.

A neighbour, William Pollock, saw the couple standing at a window trying to escape.

He said: "They were banging on the window and screaming for help.

"It started a lot of panic between the people on the street because nobody could reach and there was no fire escape from the flats.

"By the time they were bringing them out, I think the girl was unconscious."

Group Commander Alan Walmsley from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said it was fortunate that a fire station was so close to the property.

"The crews were on the scene very quickly," he said.

"When they arrived, the fire was heavily involved to the rear of the property and they witnessed a male and female in the upstairs window who were trapped.

"The crews very quickly got a ladder to the window, were able to smash the glass and carried down both persons to safety."



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