30/05/2006

Fuel depot fire investigation begins

Fire and rescue services are launching an investigation into the cause of a major fire at a fuel depot in north Belfast.

The blaze, which broke out at around 7.30pm yesterday evening at the Hayes depot on the Ballyutoag Road in Ligoneil, has now been brought under control after fire-fighters worked throughout the night to extinguish the flames.

It is understood that three fuel containers and a portacabin were destroyed during the incident.

Around 60 fire-fighters, with 12 appliances, including specialist equipment, which was brought in from across the province, helped to tackle the fire.

Thick black clouds of smoke could be seen for miles around after the inferno began.

Martin Cassidy from the Fire and Rescue Service today said that tackling the blaze was a difficult task.

He said: "We had at the height of the blaze in the region of 25,000-30,000 litres of kerosene fuel involved as well as other fossil fuels including coal and peat briquettes.

"Our main concern, as well as containing the existing fire, was preventing the spread of the fire to other large fuel containers on the site."

He added: "With fires involving large quantities of kerosene, what we are faced with is extremely high temperatures and also the production of extremely thick and toxic plumes of smoke."

The fire and rescue service have said that at this is stage it is too early to determine the cause of the blaze, however investigators will examine the scene today to try to find the cause.

(EF/SP)

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