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Firemen use water jets to cool houses as pyres light up night sky

By Chris McCuulough and Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 13/07/2015

A bonfire builder at work in the New Mosley area of Belfast. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
A bonfire builder at work in the New Mosley area of Belfast. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
An image posted on the Ballycraigy bonfire Facebook page claiming to be an effigy of Gerry Adams
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Youths climb a bonfire in the New Mosley area of Belfast. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
An image posted on the Ballycraigy bonfire Facebook page claiming to be an effigy of Gerry Adams
BONFIRES ACROSS NI: Election posters of Alliance MLA Anna Lo and Sinn Fein's MEP Martina Anderson were placed on a bonfire in the Bloomfield estate in Bangor
Preparations get underway at the Bonfire in Lanark Way in Belfast, ahead of the 12th of July annual Orange celebrations Pacemaker Press 7/7/2014
Anger has erupted after the statue of the Virgin Mary was put on top of the huge structure at Lanark Way in west Belfast. Pictured here is the memorial to a suicide victim from which statue was stolen
The huge bonfire on Lanark Way
Ballyduff bonfire in Newtownabbey July 2014
Election posters of Alliance member Anna Lo on the Bonfire in Carrickfergus ahead of the 12th of July annual Orange celebrations Pacemaker Press 7/7/2014
Mount Vernon North Belfast july 2014
Young loyalists scale the huge face of the bonfire on Lanark Way, off the Shankill
Preparations get underway at the Bonfire in Lanark Way in Belfast, ahead of the 12th of July annual Orange celebrations Pic Pacemaker
Sandy Row South Belfast 2014
A statue of our the Virgin Mary placed on a loyalist bonfire at Lanark Way PACEMAKER
Bonfire on Shankill Road 2012
Bonfire on Shankill Road 2012
A statue of our lady placed on a loyalist bonfire at Lanark Way
Pacemaker press 11/07/2013: The Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast the 12th of July celebrations began at midnight across the province. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
A youth fixes a flag onto a bonfire on the lower Shankill area of Belfas. AFP PHOTO/PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
Houses are evacuated and protected at Chobham Street in east Belfast. AFP PHOTO/PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
A man stands on top of the bonfire as houses are evacuated and protected at Chobham Street in east Belfast. AFP PHOTO/PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
Houses are evacuated and protected at Chobham Street in east Belfast, Northern Ireland, as one of the biggest bonfires in east Belfast grows in size, ahead of the traditional 11th night bonfires. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
A man sits on a bonfire on the lower Shankill area of Belfast. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
A youth stands on top of a bonfire on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. AFP PHOTO/PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
A youth fixes a flag onto a bonfire on the lower Shankill area of Belfast. AFP PHOTO/PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
Local youths burn palets next to the New Mossley bonfire, one of the largest in the province is seen on the outskirts of Belfast. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
The New Mossley bonfire, one of the largest in the province is seen on the outskirts of Belfast. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images.
Bonfire builders at Mount Vernon in north Belfast. Photo: Matt Mackey/Presseye
Bonfire builders at Mount Vernon in north Belfast. Photo: Matt Mackey/Presseye
Bonfire builders at Mount Vernon in north Belfast. Photo: Matt Mackey/Presseye
Chobham Street where more than 50 homes have been boarded up to protect them from a 11 July bonfire. Photo: Matt Mackey/Presseye
Matthew Dixon and Gary Ashwood in south Belfast. Pic: Mark Marlow/Pacemaker press
Elliott Ross and Ryan Ashwood with Matthew Dixon and Gary Ashwood. Mark Marlow/Pacemaker press
Ryan Ashwood from south Belfast. Pictures: Mark Marlow/Pacemaker press
Bonfire builders at Mount Vernon in north Belfast. Photo: Matt Mackey/Presseye
Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 11th July 2015 - 12th Night Bonfires Pictured is Fire Fighters at the Sandy Row bonfire in South Belfast as the intense heat begins to melt objects and forces the crowds back as 12th of July celebrations get under way across Northern Ireland to mark the victory of King William over King James Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye.
Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 11th July 2015 - 12th Night Bonfires Pictured is firefighters using a jet hose on a building at the Sandy Row bonfire in South Belfast, as 12th of July celebrations get under way across Northern Ireland to mark the victory of King William over King James Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye.
Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 11th July 2015 - 12th Night Bonfires Pictured is firefighters using a jet hose on a building at the Sandy Row bonfire in South Belfast, as 12th of July celebrations get under way across Northern Ireland to mark the victory of King William over King James Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye.
Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 11th July 2015 - 12th Night Bonfires Pictured is firefighters using a jet hose on a building at the Sandy Row bonfire in South Belfast, as 12th of July celebrations get under way across Northern Ireland to mark the victory of King William over King James Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Pictured is the Donegall Road bonfire in South Belfast, as seen from the King Billy mural in sandy row as the 12th of July celebrations get under way across Northern Ireland to mark the victory of King William over King James Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye.
A man playing the flute as the Ballymacash bonfire burns in Lisburn. William Cherry/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Bonfire builders get to work lighting the Ballymacash bonfire in Lisburn. William Cherry/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
A man playing the flute as the Ballymacash bonfire burns in Lisburn. William Cherry/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street Bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street Bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Firefighters hose down the houses in the area after smoke begins to rise from the roof of a property next to the Chobham Street bonfire. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The Shankill bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Police water canon on stand by at the Grosevnor Road police station in Belfast, Northern Ireland as 12th of July celebrations get under way across Northern Ireland. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Loyalist areas across Northern Ireland get ready to kick off the 12th of July celebrations with the traditional bonfires. Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Loyalist areas across Northern Ireland get ready to kick off the 12th of July celebrations with the traditional bonfires. Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press.
Iain McFarland, an Orange bandsman, plays his flute during the 11th night bonfire at the New Mossley housing estate on July 12, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
One of the huge bonfires that towers over the houses and looks over the city of Belfast in preparation for the 11th of July celebrations when the bonfires are lit in many Protestant, unionist and loyalist areas of Northern Ireland. Photo: William Cherry / Presseye
Firefighters hose down the houses after smoke begins to rise from the roof of a property near the Chobham Street bonfire. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
A man lights the controversial Chobham Street Bonfire on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
The controversial Chobham Street bonfire being lit on the Eleventh Night in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Bonfire builders take a rest in the New Mosley area of Belfast. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Preparations begin around Belfast ahead of this year's annual 11th night bonfire celebrations. Jonathan Porter/Press Eye.
Haidee de Sesto and Linda Ritele pictured as they wait for the Ballymacash bonfire in Lisburn to be lit for the 11th of July celebration. William Cherry/Presseye.
Haidee de Sesto and Linda Ritele pictured as they wait for the Ballymacash bonfire in Lisburn to be lit for the 11th of July celebration. William Cherry/Presseye.
Haidee de Sesto and Linda Ritele pictured as they wait for the Ballymacash bonfire in Lisburn to be lit for the 11th of July celebration. William Cherry/Presseye.
Haidee de Sesto and Linda Ritele pictured as they wait for the Ballymacash bonfire in Lisburn to be lit for the 11th of July celebration. William Cherry/Presseye.
Loyalist areas across Northern Ireland get ready to kick off the 12th of July celebrations with the traditional bonfires. Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press.
Loyalist areas across Northern Ireland get ready to kick off the 12th of July celebrations with the traditional bonfires. Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press.
A young boy gazes in awe at a bonfire in the Roden Street area of south Belfast. Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press.

Bonfires were lit across Northern Ireland at the weekend as the Twelfth of July celebrations got under way.

In east Belfast, more than 30 firefighters used water jets to cool properties at Chobham Street after the bonfire went up in flames on Saturday night.

Although a bonfire has been built on the site just off Newtownards Road for many years, there was some controversy over its size and proximity to terraced houses this year.

More than 50 homes were boarded up and a number of residents moved out after warnings that their lives and properties were in danger.

Meanwhile, in New Mossley, Co Antrim, one of the largest fires collapsed soon after it was ignited, but there were no reports of any injuries.

The Alliance Party has said it will be asking the PSNI to investigate after election posters and flags were burnt on a fire.

East Belfast councillor Michael Long, whose wife, Naomi Long, is the area's former MP, said: "Alliance has no issue with anyone celebrating their culture in a respectful and tolerant manner.

"However, placing Alliance posters on bonfires, as happened in east Belfast and east Antrim among other locations, as well as those from other parties and national flags, is neither respectful nor tolerant.

At Chobham Street yesterday most residents had returned to their homes and removed the timber sheets protecting their windows and doors from the huge fire - only about 10 metres away from the end of the street.

One resident said: "It was a great night. People really enjoyed themselves and all went relatively smoothly.

"There has been a lot of attention thrown towards our wee street and we hope now we can get back to a relatively normal life. It seems like this was the last bonfire to be built on the site, as there are plans afoot to build a children's playground."

Six fire appliances and 35 firefighters were present during the bonfire, dousing the closest houses with water.

More bonfires were lit at midnight last night, including a giant one at Mount Vernon in north Belfast.

Last night, Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew said she was disgusted after an effigy of her was placed on a bonfire at Moygashel beside a sign reading: "Public hanging, 10.30pm."

The former Fermanagh MP asked: "When are we going to see some courageous leadership from political unionism and the Orange Order when it comes to this hate-filled practice of burning of effigies, flags and election posters on bonfires? These are hate crimes and should be rigorously investigated as such by the PSNI."

Sinn Fein critic Mairia Cahill slammed the effigy, asking: "How does this help the loyalist culture argument?"

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