THE fatal house fire in Carryduff which claimed the life of 91 year old Samuel Carson on Tuesday is now being treated as suspected arson by police.
Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway of the PSNI’s Major Inquiry Team said: “Detectives investigating the circumstances of the fire have come into possession of new information which has led to the arrest of a 57 year old woman on suspicion of manslaughter.
“She was detained at a police station in North Down yesterday and remains in custody assisting police with their enquiries.”
She can be held for up to 24 hours by detectives before they either release or charge her.
Detectives can apply to a court for an extension to her detention.
Samuel Carson died after a blaze in the garage of a house at Thorndale Park, off the Hillsborough Road, caused his home to go up in flames.
Firefighters responded to a call of an oil tank on fire at the neighbour’s house at about 1 am on Tuesday.
Mr Carson was pulled from his home but he died at the scene from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Police have said they do not believe the cause of the fire was suspicious.
Carryduff Baptist Church Pastor Gordon Walker said the tragedy had left the family shaken.
“One of his daughters was actually here when they brought him out of the house and you know there will come a day when he is going to be taken away from us.
“But to go in this way, I think that just processing that is going to be the most challenging thing over the next few days.”
In a statement, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “Firefighters rescued a 91-year-old man from the property, and alongside ambulance personnel they carried out CPR, but sadly the man died at the scene.”
The firefighter in charge of the operation, group commander Kevin O’Neill, described the circumstances of the fire as “tragic”.
“When we arrived we saw that the fire had spread from the garage to an oil tank, which had ruptured causing the rupture of a second oil tank, and the running heating oil from these two oil tanks ran downhill into another property, and the occupant in that property subsequently died as a a result of the fire,” Mr O’Neill said.
The blaze that had damaged the bungalow, the garage and the oil tanks took about four hours to bring under control and was dealt with by 5 am