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Sandy Row bonfire: Man arrested amid disturbances after early lighting

By Claire Williamson and Amanda Ferguson

A man has been arrested following disturbances after an eleventh night bonfire was set alight in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast.

Police confirmed they received a report that the bonfire had been set alight on Thursday morning.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) received a call at 9:33am to a report of a bonfire alight in the Wellwood Street, Sandy Row area of Belfast.

The fire is being treated as deliberate.

Police have said the lighting of the bonfire has led to disturbances in the area.

Chief Inspector Robert Murdie said: "One man in his 30’s has been arrested as a result of the disturbances and is in custody helping police with their enquiries. NIFRS personnel have extinguished the fire but the area remains closed to traffic at this time."

Two fire appliances from Central Fire Station were deployed to the scene of a bonfire well alight in the area. Firefighters using water jets dealt with the fire.

A NIFRS spokesman said: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland are facilitating with traffic distribution.

“The incident finished at 10:19am and is being treated as a deliberate fire.”

The bonfires are traditionally set alight on the Eleventh Night ahead of the Twelfth of July parade.

Locals residents expressed their disappointment that around 1,000 pallets had been destroyed ahead of next month's loyalist festivities.

Teenagers keeping an eye on the bonfire, to protect it, had just left the scene this morning when it was targeted at around 9.30am.

"It's terrible," one woman said.

"It's disgusting.

"They are jealous of it because it was the biggest one."

"What can you say," one man said

"Sandy Row do it best.

"There are more pallets on their way."

Roden Street bonfire collectors said they will make donations of wood.

Further reading:

Tower of toxic tyres gathered for Eleventh night bonfire

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