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Another day... another bonfire goes up in flames after attack

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 27/06/2015

The smouldering remains of the Lisburn bonfire yesterday
The smouldering remains of the Lisburn bonfire yesterday
Jolene Bunting
Blaze: Firefighters at Sandy Row pyre

Another Eleventh night bonfire has been set alight early in Northern Ireland, prompting anger from some in the loyalist community.

At least six bonfires have been deliberately ignited ahead of the traditional July 11 event in recent days.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 4.44am yesterday, reporting a bonfire was burning at Drumbeg Drive in Lisburn.

One fire appliance from Lisburn Fire Station was deployed to the scene and one hose reel jet was used to deal with the incident. No property was damaged.

A Fire Service spokesman said: "The incident finished at 5.47am and is being treated as a deliberate fire.

"The incident has been passed to the Police Service of Northern Ireland."

Unionist politicians have said those behind the deliberate early lighting of bonfires in east and south Belfast, and now Lisburn, are attempting to spoil annual loyalist commemorations and "attack Protestant culture".

One Twitter user described the incident in Lisburn as "shameful" and another said these acts will "cause massive increase in tension".

On Thursday a bonfire in the Sandy Row area of Belfast city centre was targeted. Nationalist youths were blamed for the attack.

Other bonfires in east Belfast have also been set alight prematurely.

TUV councillor Jolene Bunting said she was disturbed by the number of pyres that are being prematurely lit "by individuals unknown across Belfast".

"Communities take great pride in their bonfire building, with many young people involved in this cultural activity," she said.

"It is routine during the building season for the bonfire to be watched over 24/7 - and if elements within our society are trying to light these early then there is a very real danger that someone could get caught in the resulting fire and suffer a serious injury.

"While the culprits are unknown, they should think twice about their behaviour", she added.

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