Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Belfast flat windows cracked by heat from Sandy Row bonfire

By Sue Doherty

The fire service was stretched to its limits on Tuesday night, as crews fought valiantly in "very difficult conditions" to stop a bonfire reaching a 10-storey apartment block in Belfast.

Assistant chief fire officer Alan Walmsley told the Belfast Telegraph: "We had an exceptionally busy night, receiving over 230 calls in the five hours between 6pm and 1am, and mobilising to more than 130 incidents, including 40 bonfires.

He described the two most challenging blazes.

"We six appliances at Bloomfield Walkway because of the size of the bonfire there and the risk it posed to neighbouring properties," he explained.

Press Association reporter Deborah McAleese filmed fencing around houses at Bloomfield Avenue after they were caught up by the bonfire there and posted the footage on Twitter.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also spent hours struggling to prevent a bonfire reaching a 10-storey apartment block at Wellwood Street, between Sandy Row and Great Victoria Street.

Mr Walmsley said: "We had firefighters on the roof of the apartment block, using a deluge system down the front of the building, trying to cool it down.

"The windows on the front of the building cracked from the heat. If it wasn't for the hard work of our crews in very difficult conditions, there's no doubt the damage would have been much worse," he said.

Lucy Ryan, who lives in the Victoria Place apartment complex, posted videos of the fire and the fire crews in action on Twitter.

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