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02/05/2008

Deliberate Blaze Closes Roads

After tackling a major fire in Co Antrim - caused accidentally yesterday - firefighters were last night also tasked to another blaze, this time in Co Down, which turned out to be deliberate - and continued to cause traffic conjestion this morning.

Yesterday's alert centred on the seaside town of Ballycastle where 10 appliances tackled a large blaze that broke out in a building being used as a lorry repair workshop in Mill Street, where fuel was being stored.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service received a call to the fire at 11.16am and on arrival at the scene, the crews were met with a substantial fire.

After containing the blaze, fire crews remained at the scene to monitor and cool the structure.

Fire Service Assistant Group Commander Colin Dixon said: "We understand there was more than 1,000 litres of diesel stored in the premises and it took us around two hours to finally contain the blaze.

"Unfortunately some of the diesel seeped into a nearby river polluting it but the Fire Service is working closely with the Environment and Heritage Agency to contain this."

There were no rescues or casualties and the cause of the fire is being treated as accidental.

Then today, in Kircubbin, roads were still closed and traffic diverted during the busy rush hour as fire crews waited for the arrival of inspectors to assess the state of the damaged premises.

A spokeswoman for the Fire Service said that a deliberate blaze had seriously damaged two portacabin-style buildings, which were being used as offices by the Kircubbin builders.

She said the alert was raised at about 10pm and while the fire was extinguished last night, firefighters still had to remain on stand-by until the damage was inspected, before the area could be reopened to traffic again.

(BMcC)

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