29/11/2002

Arson attack damages borough council depot

A Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council depot has been severely damaged in an arson attack.

Striking firefighters crossed picket lines to help tackle the blaze which severely damaged a substantial quantity of council equipment worth up to £1 million pounds.

The fire at the Oaks Road Depot in Dungannon damaged 15 bin lorries, a number of vans, and other vital equipment used by the council's technical services department.

Although two Yellow Goddess fire crews attended the scene, they were assisted in bringing the blaze under control by striking firefighters.

The fire was spotted at around 1am on Friday morning, and houses close to the depot had to be evacuated as fuel containers stored in the depot exploded, threatening to spread the fire to a wider area.

A local council officer praised the efforts of the striking firefighters and said that the blaze could have been much worse as the fire could easily have spread to other nearby equipment and a quantity of diesel fuel store close to the blaze.

A police spokesperson added: "The only people who suffer in this loss are the ratepayers. My message to the ratepayers would be that you will be effected, possibly financially, but most certainly by the loss of service due to the type of vehicles that were damaged. So if you anything at all, contact police and tell them anything you know."

While the scene is currently being examined, it is suspected that arson was the cause.

Due to the damage to essential refuse collection equipment, bin collection in the Dungannon and south Tyrone council area are likely to be disrupted for some time.

(SP)

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