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Picture of the week: Towering inferno before the Twelfth

By Kerry McKittrick

This was the scene of the Eleventh Night bonfire at Chobham Street in east Belfast last weekend.

The controversial pyre was at least 30ft all and raised serious concerns among nearby residents for the safety of their homes.

As a precaution, the windows and doors of 54 houses in the area were boarded-up to prevent them from cracking in the intense heat.

When the bonfire was lit at midnight on Saturday, July 11, firefighters were waiting close by. In total, 35 crew and six appliances were used to bring the blaze under control and protect homes.

A section of the Upper Newtownards Road was also closed off for a time so the fire service could access local hydrants.

The Fire and Rescue Service reported a total of 29 bonfire-related calls last Saturday night - 12 of which required the attendance of firefighters to ensure public safety.

Bonfires lit on the night of July 11 are a part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations. The fires represent the beacons lit on the hills of Antrim and Down to guide the ships of Protestant King William III into Belfast Lough at night.

King William's army would later go on to defeat the forces of Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne, traditionally celebrated on the Twelfth.

There were three nights of disturbances during the week at Woodvale Road in north Belfast after an Orange march was prevented from marching past the nationalist Ardoyne area following a Parades Commission ruling. Dozens of police were injured and a 16-year-old girl was knocked down by a car. Phoebe Clawson suffered a broken collarbone, ankle and pelvis after being trapped underneath the car. Although the violence in north Belfast saw injuries to dozens of police officers, more than 600 Orange Order parades passed off peacefully.


Belfast Telegraph


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