A WOMAN was forced to jump to safety from an upstairs window after her home was targeted in a suspected firebomb attack early yesterday morning.
The woman and a child were being treated for injuries at Galway University Hospital after the attack, which took place at 12.30am in a housing estate in east Galway city.
The house at the Cluain Ard estate in Ballybane was badly damaged and six others who were in the property at the time were forced to flee. The woman was forced to jump from the second floor to safety after becoming trapped inside.
Gardai are treating the blaze as suspicious.
"A house was attacked and burned in an arson attack," Superintendent Tony O'Donnell said.
"One woman was forced to jump from a top-floor window to safety. We are appealing to any witnesses to contact Galway gardai in confidence," he added.
Gardai said the house, which was gutted in the attack, has been sealed off and will be technically examined.
The woman and child were kept in hospital, but it is understood their injuries are not life-threatening.
The six other people who were in the house at the time were also treated in hospital, but have since been released.
An incident room has been set up at Mill Street garda station and can be contacted at 091 538000.
Local independent councillor Terry O'Flaherty condemned what happened and said that the area was in shock.
"It is very upsetting for everyone, especially their neighbours in the semi-detached house. They had a very lucky escape," Ms O'Flaherty said.
"It is very tough on the decent people living in there and paying their mortgages, who are trying to build up a community, which they have been doing.
"Some of the most decent people I have ever met are living in there," she added.
Meanwhile, gardai arrested two men after extensive damage was caused to St Lawrence's Church in Ballinroad, Abbeyside, near Dungarvan, Co Waterford, in a blaze that ripped through the church and sacristy on Saturday night.
The men, in their 30s and 40s, were brought to Dungarvan garda station for questioning and were still being held last night.
Gardai told the Irish Independent that they were following a "definite line of inquiry" in relation to the matter.
Dungarvan Mayor Tom Higgins said locals were shocked that the fire was started deliberately, adding that there were "obvious signs" of a break-in.
He said: "It's a sorry sight today. You can see the rafters and at least a quarter of the building is destroyed."
Mr Higgins said the sacristy was "badly damaged" and part of the roof had collapsed.
"It's a very busy church. It always has a full congregation for two Masses every Sunday. Masses and a funeral had to be cancelled," he added.