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Belfast blaze battle as 46 firefighters stop flames spreading to school

A blaze which caused extensive damage to a waste management depot in north Belfast was started by paper bales that caught alight, a fire chief has said.

Nearly 50 firefighters and six appliances were tasked to the fire at Bailey Waste Ltd on the Limestone Road yesterday around 5.30pm.

Residents in the vicinity of the blaze had been asked to keep their windows and doors shut as a precaution, a spokesperson for the NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said.

The PSNI also urged motorists to avoid the area as the road had been closed between its junctions with Halliday’s Road and Atlantic Avenue.

NIFRS Group Commander Roy Purvis said a “large quantity of recycling paper bales” had caught alight, but he told media at the scene that it was too early to determine if the blaze had been started deliberately.

NIFRS said 46 personnel had been involved in putting the blaze out, adding: “Crews have taken swift action to control the fire and to prevent fire spread to adjacent properties.” Mr Purvis, who said foam jets had been used to bring the blaze under control, said that one of the adjacent properties had been a school, which had been the focus for crew members.

"Our actions were to protect the school,” he said. "Luckily the crews were able to stop the spread [of the fire] to the school.”

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