Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Firefighters injured tackling college fire

Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue
Fire crew tackle a blaze at the back of the Union Theological College on Botanic Avenue

Two firefighters have been injured while tackling a blaze at a Presbyterian Church's training college in Belfast.

They were injured by molten metal dripping down inside the premises and were given first aid at the scene.

The Fire Service first put out a blaze which broke out at 2.30am on Saturday. They had to return just over four hours later when another one broke out.

The listed building, known as the Principal's House at Union Theological College, was in the final stages of a £2.2m renovation when fire broke out. It was due to be opened in January.

Some 23 students were moved out of their accommodation along with residents from nearby private apartments. The fire is being treated as malicious.

The Rev Trevor Gribben, deputy clerk of the General Assembly and secretary of the management committee of Union College, said: “ Everyone who has a relationship with the college is devastated by the fire.

“We are very pleased the fire authorities were able to stop it spreading to the main college, also a Grade A listed building. If the fire had spread there, it would have been devastating.

“Our thoughts are with the two firemen who were injured. We wish them a speedy recovery.”

The College, founded in 1853, is the main Presbyterian theological institution and part of Queen's University. It caters for students from all denominations.

Fire Service group commander Chris Kerr said both incidents were being investigated.

“Part of the overall investigation is the circumstances of both incidents,” he said.

“The deterioration in the internal conditions of the building meant we asked for further resources and a high reach appliance so that the crews could operation from a platform of safety above the blaze,” he added.

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