Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Villagers' fury at plan to cut power over bonfire safety fears

Aritclave bonfire
Aritclave bonfire
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2013 A Bonfire in The Ballyduff estate in Newtonabbey before on the Run up to the 12th of July Parades Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Paul McCambridge Photography . Playing With Fire. Youths are engrossed with fire at the 11th night bonfire on the Shankill rd, Belfast.
12/7/2012. A loyalist woman walks past the still burning Shankill road bonfire against a Prince William of Orange mural backdrop as the annual Orange 12th of July celebrations began across the province. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Pacemaker Press 26/6/2013 A Bonfire in The Cloughfern estate in Newtonabbey before on the Run up to the 12th of July Parades Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Presseye Northern Ireland - 11th July 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-William Cherry/PresseyeYoung boys prepare the bonfire on the Loyalist Shankill Road which will be lit tonight which begins the start the annual 'Twelfth of July' celebrations. Tensions are running high after the Parades Commission decision banning Orangemen from walking past shops in a nationalist area of north Belfast after 16:00 BST on Thursday.
Loyalist youths on Belfast's Shankill Road watch over their bonfire as the 12th of July annual Orange celebrations loom large over the province with concerns and tension raised due to Parades Commission decisions on some contentious parade routes including Ardoyne in north Belfast . Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Youths play around an unlit bonfire close to Roden Street 11th July 2012
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
Ballee Estate bonfire 11th July 2012
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
A man climbs one of the biggest 11th night bonfires at New Mossley on the outskirts of Belfast
Men building a bonfire on the Donegal Road at the entrance gates of Belfast's City Hospital.Date: Wednesday 11th July 2012
Bonfire night in north Belfast. Picture submitted by Conor Dunn
Twelfth bonfires

News that up to 300 homes will be without electricity on the Eleventh Night after a bonfire was built close to overhead power lines has sparked anger in a small rural village.

Residents are furious after officials said the bonfire at Articlave in Co Londonderry poses a serious risk to health and safety – despite being built in the same spot as previous years.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said that the smoke and heat from bonfires can cause electrical arcing and sparking, and in some cases lines may be brought down by the fire.

NIE has now written to the residents of the affected homes informing them that they will be without electricity from 10pm on July 11 until 9am on July 12.

Janine Parsons, a resident of Rockmount Gardens, said: "It's a terrible thing to do. They have been running bonfires for years. It's mostly elderly people who live here and what are they going to do without any electricity?

"Everyone is up in arms."

As well as householders, local businesses will also see their power cut off on the night, such as the Village Tavern Pub and Chequers Chip Shop, which do not have their own electricity generators.

A spokesman from the Village Tavern said: "I have been speaking to people about the bonfire issue and they have said it's not in a different place to what it was any other year.

"So they don't know why it's an issue this year."

Coleraine DUP councillor George Duddy told the Belfast Telegraph that discussions were ongoing.

He said: "I hope that we can find a satisfactory resolution for all of the community ahead of Thursday."

Sarah McClintock from NIE said: "NIE emergency crews have assessed the site and the safest course of action is to isolate the section of electricity network and remove the lines."

QUOTE

"Our concern is the safety of the general public who may be watching the bonfire. Smoke and heat from bonfires can cause damage to electricity equipment, and in some cases may bring down live electricity lines."

Sarah McClintock from NIE

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