Belfast Telegraph

Residents rescued after fire sweeps through flats

by Chris McCann

A father was forced to hang his young baby out the upstairs window of an east Belfast flat as a fire raged, it has been revealed.

The drama unfolded last Friday morning, January 7, in the Whincroft Road area of Braniel as four people, including the three-month-old baby, were rescued.

The father, daughter and mother are believed to have become trapped as their escape route became blocked.

An 80-year-old female was also rescued from a ground floor flat, while another elderly female managed to get out before the arrival of fire crews.

The family was taken to the Ulster Hospital by ambulance to be treated for the effects of smoke inhalation. The two elderly ladies did not require any treatment.

Local UUP councillor Michael Copeland, who was at the scene, said a “major disaster” had been averted.

“That’s all due to the fact that the smoke alarms were functioning and the professional manner in which the emergency services operated,” he said.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Castlereagh Borough Council and the La Mon Hotel, who both provided accommodation to those who were evacuated overnight.”

Meanwhile, local Alliance representative Councillor Michael Long expressed his shock at the fire at flats. He said: “This was a deeply shocking incident and my thoughts are with those in the flats at the time who had to be rescued.

“I want to praise the bravery of the firefighters who battled the blaze and rescued these three people.

“We all owe our emergency services a debt of gratitude for the work they do in dealing with dangerous situations on a daily basis to protect the public.

“This was a very traumatic incident for all those who were evacuated, and people in the area are shock at it.”

A Northern Ireland Fire And Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokesperson said: “The fire started accidentally on the ground floor of the building at the electrical intake. Actuating smoke alarms alerted the occupants to the fire.

“The incident was dealt with by 10.14am and all three flats have suffered smoke damage.

“The Red Cross Fire Emergency Support Service Vehicle was at the scene to offer assistance to those who had been affected.”

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