Belfast Telegraph

West Belfast fire: Resident describes 'explosions and bangs' as 'inferno' evacuates a dozen houses

By Claire Williamson

A local resident has described the frightening moment he was awoken by the sound of "explosions and bangs" as an "inferno" fire caused a dozen houses in west Belfast to be evacuated due to the large blaze.

The fire service said significant damage was caused to three houses in Sunnyhill Park and the roofs of two collapsed as the blaze took hold in the early hours of Monday morning.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service area commander Kevin O'Neill said firefighters were called to a shed on fire but it spread to an oil tank.

"The oil from that oil tank flowed across the back of several properties, setting fire to other oil tanks, causing partial roof collapse on two properties."

The area was left a scene of devastation, with houses blackened by smoke and gaping holes in roofs.

No-one has been injured.

Sixty firefighters and eight appliances attended.

A resident who lives nearby but did not want to be named described the sound of explosions and described the scenes as "frightening".

He said: "I heard a series of explosions and a series of bangs. They woke me up around 4am.

"There was just a huge billowing pool of smoke coming from towards the end of Sunnyhill Park. There didn't seem to be any sense of panic at this end of the street - I think everybody had got out of their houses by that stage.

Scene of fire in #dunmurry. I'll be live for @BBCgmu after 8.

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"The bangs were followed by more pops which must have been the windows popping and then our electricity went off as well - so I'm sure that was related in some way. But it was an inferno -  it was quite frightening."

The resident said their concerns were whether any residents were still in the house.

He said: "I was really frightened because we were concerned about the people in the houses - was anybody in the houses that was our first thought and everybody else in the street that was their first thought.

"But everybody seemed to get out ok and then the fire engines came on the scene and started trying to tackle the blaze.

 "It looked like two or three or four houses that had the smoke billowing out of the windows and then it became quite obvious and you could see the flames taking hold.

"And the roof started to go ablaze as well. But the fire crews dealt with it very well.

"You can smell a little bit of smoke in the air but it's awful. It could have been any of us. It's frightening. I'm just glad that everybody is ok."


From Belfast Telegraph