Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Arsonists blamed for starting toxic blaze at Bangor factory

Fire crews dealing with a blaze at a disused factory in Bangor, Co Down. Photograph by Timothy Rooney
Fire crews dealing with a blaze at a disused factory in Bangor, Co Down. Photograph by Timothy Rooney

A toxic blaze at a disused factory in Bangor that led to asbestos-laden smoke being released is believed to have been started deliberately.

The fire partially destroyed the vacant premises on the Faulkner Road after breaking out shortly before midnight on Saturday.

The powerful fire required eight Fire and Rescue Service appliances at the scene, where it took around six hours for the crews to get the fire under control after it had broken through the roof. The last fire crew left the scene at 11am yesterday.

Fire Service group commander Randy McComb described the fire as "very severe".

"Fire crews have been called to these premises on a number of occasions before. It seems we may be looking at arson," he said.

"There is a large housing development nearby and residents were advised to keep their doors and windows closed due to the thick toxic smoke coming from the fire. The smoke is believed to have contained asbestos which was released into the air.

"This is no longer a danger now that the smoke has cleared."

Christine Snel, who runs a roller rink beside the factory, said she has called the police on a number of occasions due to youths starting fires in the area. "This isn't the first time this has happened, although it was on a smaller scale before," she said.

"I have called the police and fire service about fires breaking out and antisocial behaviour in the area.

"CCTV signs have been erected in the area but this doesn't seem to have deterred vandals."

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