A NEW Lodge mother says she could have been killed after an arson attack in the stairwell of her flat.

A bike and prams were set on fire at the communal entrance to the maisonette flats in Duncairn Parade.

As smoke filled the building, residents were able to flee to safety before the fire spread.

One resident, Natalie McKenzie, told the North Belfast News that she is living in fear following an increase in anti-social behaviour in the area.

"My neighbour came and banged my door and told me there was a fire downstairs," she said.

Natalie McKenzie and her son, Cyan Evans and fellow resident Kerry-Ann Maginn

Natalie McKenzie and her son, Cyan Evans and fellow resident Kerry-Ann Maginn

"He was just on the way from the shop and I don’t see him much. If it wasn’t for him coming, I could have been gone.

"Everything was burnt including prams and bikes that we left in the communal stairwell area.

"I was in hospital last night. I have got smoke damage on my lungs. I had been over to Wales and came back that day. My son has been absolutely petrified ever since.

"The people behind this are kids. Everyone knows who they are. I know kids will be kids but this was a step too far."

In a further incident believed to have involved the same group of youths, a New Lodge man was attacked last Thursday, the day after the arson.


It is understood he was attacked whilst walking home and was knocked to the ground before being kicked in the head.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor JJ Magee condemned what he is described as "criminal behaviour".

"This type of behaviour can no longer be called anti-social. It is criminal because they are putting people’s lives in danger," he said.

"Anyone with any information should pass it on to the police immediately.

"This resident who was attacked has been subject to years of abuse and he needs to be left alone to live his life, as do all the residents of the New Lodge."

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police received a report of a fire in a stairwell at a block of flats in the Duncairn Parade area of North Belfast at around 7.10pm on Wednesday, July 20.

"Officers attended, along with colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, who extinguished the fire.

"There were no reports of any injuries, however damage was caused to a bike and two prams.

 "Enquiries are ongoing and anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything, or who may have video footage or any other information, is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1631 of 20/07/22.

"Alternatively, you can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form.

"You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online."