Belfast Telegraph

Fire Service in bonfire safety plea to revellers

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has urged people to stay safe during the Eleventh night bonfire celebrations.

The appeal comes as the final preparations are being made in loyalist areas for the annual event.

Last year fire crews attended 49 bonfire-related incidents. This was almost double the number of similar incidents attended on the same night the previous year, and was a significant increase on the 37 incidents during 2009.

Some of the largest bonfire structures are in the Sunnylands estate in Carrickfergus, the Cregagh estate in east Belfast and the Shankill estate in the west of the city.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer and director of safety services, Dale Ashford, has called for those building or attending bonfires to make safety a priority.

“Bonfires should be kept to a manageable size and sited in a clear open space, at a safe distance from buildings and overhead cables. As a rule of thumb, the bonfire should be a minimum distance of five times its height from any property.

“The bonfire should not contain any potentially hazardous material, and never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin — as these can produce explosive vapours. Remember, should your bonfire get out of control, call 999 immediately.”

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