A Carrickfergus business owner whose premises was damaged in an arson attack in the early hours of Monday morning has said it’s lucky no-one was killed in the incident.
Two people had to be evacuated from flats above Butler’s Barber Shop at Market Place after a wheelie bin was set alight and pushed up against the shutter at the front of the property at around 2:50am.
Tanya Butler, who only opened her business eight weeks ago, praised firefighters and police who responded to the incident, saying they did “a brilliant job.”
“The bin had been put up against the shutter and gas mains pipe and set alight,” she explained.
“The shutter is wrecked and the heat broke the window, but the damage isn’t bad enough to keep us closed. We will be open again on Tuesday as normal.”
The 30-year-old continued: “There are two flats above my shop, and the guy directly above saw nothing until the police were evacuating him.
“It could have been a lot more serious. If the gas main had blown that fella upstairs could have been killed and a lot more premises would have been badly damaged.”
Tanya said she believes the fire was a random act of anti-social behaviour - something she says is a growing problem in the town.
“Lately there has been an awful lot of anti-social behaviour, young people out drinking in groups and it just seems to be getting worse,” she added.
UUP Cllr Andrew Wilson called on those responsible for setting the fire to “wise up.”
“This fire was right beside a gas main and the consequences could have been fatal,” he said.
Police officers investigating the incident are keen to hear from anyone who saw a male wearing a grey hoodie in the area shortly before the fire started.
Investigating officers can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 163 of 11/6/18.