The Drogheda property was targeted over a suspected drugs debt on Monday night while the 30-year-old mother and her children, all under the age of 10, were inside.
The “completely innocent” family were forced to escape out a first-floor window with the help of neighbours after a petrol bomb was thrown at the house.
At this stage, detectives believe the house was targeted because a younger male known to the woman, who does not live at the property, owes a €2,000 drug debt to a local gang.
Gardaí are investigating if associates of the Maguire mob, one of the crime groups involved in the Drogheda feud, were behind this week’s petrol bombing.
A 17-year-old local thug linked to the gang, who has previously been investigated for similar crimes, last night emerged as the chief suspect in the attack.
Investigators are also braced for further violence in the town after receiving “credible intelligence” that associates of Owen Maguire intended to return to Drogheda to carry out a fresh spate of fire bombings linked to drug debt collection and intimidation.
“There is credible intelligence that criminals working for the Maguires are returning to Drogheda to ramp up their debt collecting,” a source said.
“This may involve further petrol bomb attacks and gardaí fear a fresh outbreak of violence.”
Senior criminals on both sides of the dispute went to ground following the shocking murder of teenager Keane Mulready-Woods (17) last January.
In recent months, gardaí have made several significant seizures against both drugs
networks in the town, which led to members of the local drug unit becoming the target of sinister graffiti death threats.
No arrests have yet been made in relation to Monday night’s petrol bomb attack in the St Laurence’s Park area.
Gardaí have been reviewing CCTV footage in an attempt to identify those involved.
The blaze broke out at about 9.30pm when an accelerant, believed to be a petrol bomb, was thrown through the front door of the house.
Neighbours noticed the fire and helped the family escape from a top floor window.
Three units of the Louth fire brigade attended the scene and treated the family for smoke inhalation. The woman and her young children recently moved into the property, which suffered serious internal damage as a result of the fire.
“They are completely innocent but unfortunately it appears a man known to the mother has built up a drug debt and there have been threats made against him,” the source said.
“This incident isn’t directly linked to feuding in the area but gardaí are investigating the involvement of the Maguire crime group as part of their debt collection efforts.”
Yesterday, gardaí remained at the scene as forensic experts carried out examinations of the property and the surrounding area.
A garda spokesperson said they responded to the incident at around 9.40pm along with fire services and paramedics.
“The fire was quickly brought under control but considerable damage was caused to the property,” the spokesperson said.
“An investigation into all of the circumstances of the fire has commenced, the scene is currently preserved for forensic examination, no arrests have been made to date and enquires ongoing.”
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact them at Drogheda Garda station on (041) 9874200 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.