Northern Ireland

West Belfast: Houses evacuated after petrol station fire

Mace Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The fire service said the blaze was contained to a single building and did not spread to petrol pumps

A number of homes were evacuated after a fire at a petrol station complex in west Belfast.

The fire happened at a garage on the Stewartstown Road in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The fire service said the blaze was contained to single building and did not spread to the petrol pumps.

It said that the cause of the fire is not yet known. It is understood residents returned to their homes at about 06:00 GMT.

The fire is now out.

Sinn Féin councillor Stephen Magennis said he understood that no one was hurt in the blaze and that six or seven houses were evacuated as part of the operation.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Stephen Magennis said the fire would have been 30 or 40ft from homes

Mr Magennis said that after being told about the fire shortly after 02:00 he looked out his bedroom window and "could see the flames over the top of the houses".

"When I made my way round, the police and fire brigade were evacuating houses that were backing on to the garage, and they informed me the actual garage building was engulfed.

"Obviously with the garage and the fuel and everything else, it became a big worry.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption It is believed the Stewartstown Road, part of Foxes Glen and Twinbrook were sealed off because of the fire

"The police sealed off the Stewartstown Road, part of Foxes Glen and Twinbrook as well.

"I have to say the police and the fire brigade put on a fairly professional operation, getting people out safe, getting them into places and also securing the area."

Image copyright Ciaran Connolly
Image caption The fire has now been put out

He added: "I would say residents were probably in shock because of what had happened, especially the intensity of the fire at the back of their homes.

"One resident told me that she went down to get a glass of water, saw the whole garage building on fire and then alerted the fire brigade. She was saying, if she hadn't come down would anybody have seen it?

"So people were fairly in shock, very worried and fearful."