Twelfth bonfires: Fire service deals with a call every 77 seconds
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) dealt with one call every 77 seconds last night as loyalists lit bonfires marking the start of their holiday season, it was revealed.
From 6pm until 1am this morning it received 184 calls. Over a three-hour period it dealt with calls every 77 seconds. Forty-two incidents were related to the traditional "Eleventh Night", when crowds burn massive piles of waste wood, furniture and sometimes effigies of the Pope. Only 15 required fire service assistance.
In Craigavon, Co Armagh, crews attending a bonfire had to withdraw after they came under attack from youths throwing stones but there were no injuries.
In some cases the fierce heat produced put nearby properties at risk, forcing the fire service to cool them using jets of water.
A blaze at Cluan Place, east Belfast, near where serious sectarian rioting has broken out in the past, caused some minor external fire damage at a nearby property.
In County Down, a number of houses at Huntly Road, Banbridge, and Ballyminetragh Gardens, Bangor, required external cooling due to heat coming from nearby bonfires.
Crews also attended 25 minor gorse and grass fires. The NIFRS said the total of 184 fire calls was up by almost 100% on last year.