Northern Ireland

80 evacuated from Belfast apartment block due to fire

Fire Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The fire was at an apartment block in Belfast city centre

Two people were taken to hospital and 80 people evacuated from their homes overnight following a fire at an apartment block in Belfast city centre.

Fifty-five firefighters using eight fire appliances tackled the blaze on the first floor of the building on Great Victoria Street.

Firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 02:00 BST on Wednesday.

Two people have been treated for smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The building is managed by Choice Housing Association.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Eighty people were moved from their homes during the incident

Firefighters using breathing apparatus searched six floors of the building during the incident.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said about 24 people were displaced by the fire and moved to a nearby community centre.

'Extensive operation'

The fire service's Alan O'Neill said: "When crews arrived they found quite an extensive fire on the first floor that had spread and travelled with quite a bit of smoke up through the building.

"So it was quite an extensive operation."

Image caption Smoke damage can be seen on the apartments

He said that some people remained out of their homes.

"Where the fire originated, that apartment was extensively damaged and there'll be some other work that needs to be carried out for the rest of the building before the people can move back in again," he said.

"At this stage we're treating it as accidental, but we will carry out further investigation later on today."

In a statement, Choice said it was working with the fire service to establish what caused the fire.

"Choice staff are currently assisting all of the residents and we can confirm that the majority have now been allowed back into their homes.

"We are working hard to get the remaining tenants back into their home or alternative accommodation as quickly as possible," the statement said.

"We would like to thank the NIFRS, Ambulance Service and the PSNI for their quick response and to the concierge on-site who assisted emergency services with evacuation procedures."

Related Topics