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Portstewart : Local UUP councillor Norman Hillis said he was full of admiration for the efforts of the Fire Service

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It was a traumatic night for residents of the Fold on Mill Road Portstewart who had to be evacuated after a fire broke out on Boxing night.

Fortunately local firefighters were on the scene quickly.

Local UUP councillor Norman Hillis said he was full of admiration for the efforts of the Fire Service. Speaking to Causeway Coast Community late last night UUP councillor Norman Hillis said “The local Presbyterian Church Hall was quickly opened to receive the evacuated residents and many local residents provided a welcome flow of tea and sandwiches.

A wonderful example of a community pulling together in the face of adversity. I had the opportunity to speak to a number of the residents in the Church Hall who were all taking the events very much in their stride. Well done to everyone who helped.”

A Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Spokesperson said:

“Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service received a call to an automatic fire alarm originating from sheltered dwellings at Mill Road, Portstewart at 19:45 hrs on Tuesday 26th December 2017.

On arrival, the initial fire crew discovered a well-developed fire within a flat which went on to involve one wing of the building. A total of 5 fire appliances, one aerial appliance and a total of 32 firefighters attended and quickly brought the incident under control. Unfortunately one wing of the building has been severely damaged. The fire was prevented from spreading to the remainder of the building which remains in use.

Residents were evacuated by staff and firefighters to safe areas of the building and the local Presbyterian Church has provided shelter and support for those affected.

One male casualty was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and has been taken to hospital by ambulance. There are thankfully no reports of any other injuries.

Crews will remain on scene for some time and will work with partner agencies to ensure that those affected can return to their accommodation as soon as possible.

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