PICTURES: Arson attack on family home latest in series of incidents

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Police are appealing for witnesses after a deliberate overnight fire at a property.

The fire started at a house in the Dermott Hill Parade area of west Belfast.

The west Belfast home of Mr George Richmond was again attacked overnight in an arson attack. His family home has been repeatedly attacked in recent weeks

The west Belfast home of Mr George Richmond was again attacked overnight in an arson attack. His family home has been repeatedly attacked in recent weeks

Detective Sergeant McPhillips said: “We received a report of a fire at this property just after 2am. Our colleagues from the NIFRS attended the scene and extinguished the fire which we believe may have started in the downstairs area.

“The ground floor of the house was completely gutted in the blaze although fortunately no-one was in the property at the time of the incident."

He added that the house next door "was filled with smoke and a number of people who were inside at the time were brought to safety".

“We are treating this fire as arson and believe it may be linked to criminal damage at the same address on 1 January, in which a number of windows were smashed.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses following an overnight fire at a house in the Dermott Hill Parade area of west Belfast

Detectives are appealing for witnesses following an overnight fire at a house in the Dermott Hill Parade area of west Belfast

"We are also investigating a possible link to a shooting incident at residential premises in the Upper Springfield road area, which was reported to police on Tuesday.

“Everyone has a right to live in a safe and stable community and this type of senseless and reckless criminality will not be tolerated. Those living in the local area who have any information should bring it to police immediately so that we can bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information about these incidents or saw any suspicious activity in the Dermott Hill Parade area in the early hours of this morning, to get in touch with detectives on 101, quoting reference number 97 of 3/1/19.”

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

Fire brigade

Fire brigade

A spokesman from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said they received a call at 1.57am today, January 3 to attend a fire at the Dermott Hill Parade property.

He said two appliances attended from Springfield Fire Station.

He added that "firefighters were called to a fire in the ground floor of a semi-detached house".

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire," the statement added. "The cause of the fire appears to be deliberate.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses following an overnight fire at a house in the Dermott Hill Parade area of west Belfast

Detectives are appealing for witnesses following an overnight fire at a house in the Dermott Hill Parade area of west Belfast

"The incident was dealt with at 2.55 am."