Four rescued after fire blocks escape routes
A number of people rescued from apartments in south Belfast because of a fire had already been displaced from their homes because of the water crisis.
Firefighters rescued four people from self-catering apartments owned by the Malone Lodge Hotel in Sandringham Street in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Thirty firefighters from across Belfast were called to the fire at Malone Mews at around 6.30am. The occupants of two apartments rang the Fire and Rescue Service after they had become trapped inside.
District commander Lenny Entwistle said they were lucky to get out safely.
“The people were trapped inside because their means to escape had been blocked by the fire,” he said.
“Our control centre kept the occupants on the phone and advised them while firefighters made their way to the scene.
“One fire was on the first floor communal area that blocked escape routes,” he said. “Firefighters had to enter the building and carry out rescues and search 14 apartments over four floors.”
PSNI and forensic officers, along with the Fire Service, are investigating the incident, which they believe was started deliberately.
“It took about two hours to bring the blaze under control,” Mr Entwistle said. “The four people rescued were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.”
Meanwhile, three people had to be rescued from two blazes in two buildings in Newry.
The fires took hold at two neighbouring terraced houses on St Mary’s Street, just after 2am on Saturday.
The Fire Service attended the the scene and put out a blaze in the first building before being called back to fight a fire in the second property.
Both houses had been converted into apartments, but it is not known if the fires were linked.