Eleventh Night: Skies of Ulster lit up in annual commemoration
The traditional Eleventh Night bonfires lit of up the skies of Ulster last night as thousands turned out across Northern Ireland to watch the annual commemoration.
Hundreds of huge pyres were ignited a day early as the annual Orange Order demonstrations will take place tomorrow in religious observance of Sunday.
Further bonfires are expected to be lit tonight ahead of the Twelfth parades tomorrow.
The Northern Ireland Fire Service responded to a total of 88 incidents last night, 29 of which were bonfire related with 12 requiring immediate intervention by fire crews.
It's the lowest number of bonfire related callouts since 2012 and a significant decrease on last year's figure of 44 bonfire related incidents.
In east Belfast, crews used six fire engines, main jets and hosereel jets to protect houses in adjoining streets from a bonfire on Chobham Street which was erected a mere 30 feet from nearby homes.
The Fire Service recommend that a bonfire should be built at a minimum distance equal to five times its height from the nearest property.
More than 50 homes were boarded up and a number of residents moved out of the street after warnings that their lives and properties were in danger.
Meanwhile, in New Mossley, Co Antrim, one of the largest fires collapsed soon after it was ignited, but there were no reports of any injuries.
Bonfire near houses in east Belfast starts to fall ... pic.twitter.com/2uhn7rSE0P— Mark Simpson (@BBCMarkSimpson) July 12, 2015
Effigies of Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly were also torched on another Co Antrim pyre.
In a statement, the Fire Service said the reduced callout numbers is due to the fact that the Eleventh fell on Saturday this year and a number of bonfires may have been held over to be ignited on Sunday evening.
There were no reports of any crews being attacked during the evening.
Belfast Telegraph Digital