An arson attack at the home of a family-of-five in east Belfast early this morning is being treated as a “racial hate crime”, police have said.
Detectives investigating the attack at a house in the Hyndford Street area, which was reported shortly after midnight, have described it as “a reckless act”.
Detective Sergeant Sam McCallum said: “The fire was reported to us at 12:10am. It’s believed that an accelerant was poured through the letter box of a front door of a house in the Hyndford Street area and set alight.
“A family of five inside the house - a man, a woman and three children – escaped injury after the man managed to put out the fire himself.
“Damage was caused to the door, and to a window.
“This was a reckless act on a home where a family have the right to feel safe. We could have been dealing with something much more serious today.
“Thankfully, no one was injured, however, the family has been left badly shaken.”
DS McCallum continued: “Our enquiries into this incident, which we are treating as arson with intent to endanger life, are at an early stage. It is also being as a racial hate crime.
“Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected. If you or someone you know is the victim of a hate crime please contact police or your local support agency. For more information visit https://www.psni.police.uk/crime/hate-crime/here-to-help/
“I want to appeal to anyone who was in the Hyndford Street area between midnight and 12:10am this morning and saw what happened, or anyone who has information they believe may assist our investigation, to call detectives at Musgrave on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference 6 of 09/11/18.”
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.