Woman terrified after her car is set on fire in Bell’s Hill attack

Woman terrified after her car is set on fire in Bell’s Hill attack

11 July 2018

A CROSSGAR woman and her neighbours had a lucky escape after her car was deliberately set on fire in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Pat Meharg from Bell’s Hill was awoken from her bed by her neighbour as huge flames from her car raged outside her house.

“I heard this blattering at the door. To tell you the truth,I didn’t know who it was but I still opened the door and it was my neighbour Brian Matthew,” she told the Recorder.

“He said, ‘Get out of the house now Pat, get out’. I looked outside and down at my car and saw flames about 20 feet high.”

Her silver Renault Clio car was parked in front of her house and a skip containing an old sofa was beside it.

Firefighters from Downpatrick quickly attended the scene at 1am and extinguished the blaze.

However, the car was completely destroyed in the malicious fire.

Pat says she owes a huge debt of thanks to a passing motorist and her neighbour for alerting her.

“There was a young lad, Andrew Lennon, driving along the road coming from his girlfriend’s.

He noticed the flames, stopped and ran to the door of my neighbour to get him up. 

“Only for him alerting my neighbour, the fire could have got right up to my house as it had travelled  a quarter way up my garden as well. It could have taken my whole hedge and gone up to my front window,” said Pat.

“If he had not driven down and seen it, it all could have ended up disastrous.

“I’m so glad that the fire brigade came so quickly as I was terrified of the oil tank blowing too. They used three hoses to put the fire out.”

She said that the incident had absolutely terrified her and she had been greatly worried about the effect it had on a 90-year-old woman who lives beside her.

“I normally have a lot of windows open but after that, I came in and closed them all as what happened has really scared me.

“Whoever did this had no consideration for anybody or anything. They just didn’t care what they did,” said Pat.

“I’m a community care worker and need my car as I use it car every day. I start work for five nights in a row tonight. The thought of having no car to get to the elderly folks that I look after is just terrible.”

However, Pat confirmed that she had managed to organise a replacement car to maintain her care duty over the Twelfth holidays.

A spokesperson for the NI Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the cause of the fire “appeared to be deliberate.”

DUP councillor Billy Walker said he was outraged by the attack.

“I condemn what has happened in what is a quiet rural area at Bells Hill,” he said. “No-one should have to be subjected to such an attack on their property.

Ulster Unionist Alan Lewis also condemned the attack. He said: “My thoughts are with Patricia who is very badly shaken. Nobody should be made feel unsafe in their own home.”