Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

High rise tower block is engulfed in flames in Belfast, Ireland

High rise tower block is engulfed in flames in Belfast, Ireland

A spokesperson told local media the blaze was "under control".

Lagan Valley representative Robbie Butler was speaking as the majority of residents affected by the fire were allowed to return home.

Four people were treated by paramedics but no one was seriously injured.

However, residents have criticised the fact that other alarms in the building did not go off. Mr Somerville has said that smoke alarms where smoke from the fire had entered did go off.

In this case, the fire did not spread beyond the flat where the blaze broke out.

"I am very relieved there is no loss of life and that is only because of the courageous actions of our firefighters here today", he said.

Assembly member Edwin Poots said his overriding emotion was one of relief.

"They are spending money on sprinklers for the renovation of Westminster".

A JustGiving page has been set up by the Residents' Association and aims to raise £1,000 for residents affected.

PA Wire  PA Images
PA Wire PA Images

John McPoland McPoland, a spokesman for the ambulance service of Northern Ireland, said:"The flats were evacuated by the fire service".

Red Cross volunteers provided support to residents, including temporary shelter in a specially adapted motorhome.

"It's one of huge relief that this isn't another Grenfell disaster", he said.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are now at the scene.

He also noted that none of the flats had the cladding that existed at Grenfell Tower, though new cladding for the building had been planned in 2015.

It happened in an apartment on the ninth floor of the Coolmoyne House tower block in Dunmurry - but authorities say it appears to be accidental.

The fire comes months after a local councillor in the area sought assurances that the block was safe following the Grenfell Tower fire.

"The fire alarm system worked as expected", he said.

"The big concern for a lot of the residents is that smoke alarms did not go off throughout the building, so many residents were in a burning building and didn't realise it", he said. The communal hallways are fitted with a silent smoke detection system, which is monitored 24 hours a day.

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