Two men have been arrested after a suspected arson attack in Antrim during which local residents and three police officers had to be treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.
The men - a 22-year-old and an 18-year-old - were arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life after the fire at Tiger Court just before 1.30am on Thursday.
A window had been smashed at the property and it is believed the fire may have been started deliberately.
Two police officers and a number of residents from the surrounding area had to be taken to hospital for treatment after the incident. Another officer was treated at the scene.
A police spokesman said their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
A police vehicle which was at the scene also came under attack from youths throwing stones.
Two males were seen running from the scene.
Police have appealed for information.
One resident living close to the scene of the fire said: “We woke up with the commotion of the fire engine arriving at the flat. There were a lot of people running around at the time.
“This is usually a fairly quiet estate with a lot of families and pensioners, so something like this is not expected.
“There used to be a fella who lived in the flat, but we haven’t seen him for some time.”
Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly said: “Lives could have been lost in this fire. There is no justification for this attack.
“I would like to praise the efforts of the police officers who entered the building to bring people to safety and who were treated for smoke inhalation. I hope all those injured in this fire will be able to make a full recovery.”
Councillor Kelly said he was “concerned by the reports that youths attacked police vehicles with stones during this rescue operation”.
He urged anyone with information about the incident to contact the PSNI.
UUP Councillor Adrian Watson said: “The area has had its fair share of problems. There are very good residents in there as well.”
Deputy mayor of Antrim, DUP Councillor Brian Graham, said: “This has been very concerning for the residents of Town Parks and in particular Tiger Court, especially at that time of the morning.
“I hope everyone injured last night makes a swift recovery.”