FOUR RESIDENTS had to receive medical treatment after fire broke out in Coolmoyne House, a 15 storey tower block in Dunmurry, just outside Belfast, late this afternoon.
The emergency services were quickly on the scene, with eleven fire appliances being called out in total, but even so the fire appears to have taken hold and was burning fiercely by the time the first firefighters arrived.
There was obviously widespread concern that the fire would take hold as it did at Grenfell Tower in June this year, but fortunately the emergency services managed to contain the blaze within an hour and were also able to lead residents to safety.
Four ambulances attended the fire. One person was taken to hospital for treatment of what were described as “minor injuries”, and a man and a woman were admitted to Lagan Valley Hospital, where their condition was described as “stable”.
Initial reports suggest that the fire broke out inside a flat on the ninth or tenth floor of the block, with flames reaching up the building by the time the Fire Brigade arrived. There were also reports that flats and communal landings above the burning flat filled up with smoke.
With fire crews still on the site dealing with the aftermath of the blaze, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said that they had rescued a man from the flat where the fire had broken out. Group Commander Geoff Sommerville told reporters that it seemed that the man had been making toast and had then heard his smoke detectors sound an alarm – which made him realise his flat was on fire.
Commander Sommerville also paid tribute to the courage and prompt action of firefighters, which he believed had contributed to making sure no one lost their life and the number of casualties was small.
Residents told local reporters they were relieved to be safe, and the incident had made them think about the Grenfell victims – the horror of what happened there having really come home to them.
There were reports that there had been fire practices in the block since the Grenfell fire. Some residents confirmed that a fire alarm had gone off on the floor where the fire broke out, but then expressed concern that this one alarm had not sounded throughout the block. However, Commander Sommerville told reporters that the fire alarm had worked in the flat where the fire broke out, as expected, while the alarms on the affected floor had also worked – automatically opening the windows to let out the smoke.