Fire hits high-rise flats in Dunmurry. near Belfast

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Media captionFlames and smoke hit multiple floors at Coolmoyne House

One person was rescued from a burning tower block and a number of residents were led to safety after a fire broke out at high-rise flats outside Belfast.

Firefighters were called to Coolmoyne House in Dunmurry at about 17:30 GMT as flames and smoke hit multiple floors.

On arrival, crews were faced with “a well-developed fire on the ninth floor” the Fire and Rescue Service said.

The flats were evacuated, and four people were treated by paramedics. The fire was extinguished by 18:10 GMT.

Image copyright Robert Cullen
Image caption Pictures posted on social media showed flames and smoke at Coolmoyne House

One person was taken to hospital with “minor injuries”.

Tower block residents told a BBC reporter at the scene that they felt shocked but “lucky to be alive”.

They added that all they could think about was the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London during the summer.

Some residents expressed anger, claiming that fire alarms had not worked.

Image copyright Sam Waide
Image caption Emergency vehicles were sent to the scene of the fire on Wednesday evening

The blaze damaged flats on the ninth and tenth floors before it was brought under control, according to local community worker Julie Ann Jackson.

“They got everybody out,” she told the BBC’s Evening Extra programme.

Ms Jackson said safety drills had been carried out at the block, following the Grenfell fire in June.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Some of the flats on the upper floors have been damaged

A total of eleven fire appliances and four ambulances were sent to Coolmoyne House.

“Crews remain on scene dealing with the incident,” a Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service statement said.

It added there was no “further risk” to the public.

“The cause of the incident is currently under investigation,” the statement said.

‘Frightening’

The tower block on the Seymour Hill housing estate is owned and operated by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The public housing body is also investigating the incident.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A large number of emergency workers attended the incident

Dunmurry resident Sam Waide was driving past Coolmoyne House when he saw what he first believed was steam coming from the top of the building.

He pulled his car over and realised the tower block was on fire.

“It was sort of frightening,” he told BBC News NI.

“After what happened in England, you think to yourself, is this another one?”

Mr Waide said emergency vehicles were at the scene “very, very quickly”.

Image caption A cordon was put in place around the tower block

Robert Cullen was driving towards his sister’s house in Seymore Hill when he saw “lots and lots of smoke”.

“One side of the flats was all in flames, from about half way up,” he told BBC News NI.

He said within minutes, fire appliances started to arrive “left, right and centre”.

“As far as I’m aware, everybody got out,” Mr Cullen added.

He said that after about 20 minutes, firefighters had doused all the flames and “there was just smoke”.

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