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BBC NI's Karen Atkinson reports:
"Extensive smoke damage was caused to the block of Housing Executive flats"
 real 28k

Sunday, 10 June, 2001, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Four rescued from flats fire
flat fire
Extensive damage was caused to a ground floor flat
Four people, including an elderly woman, have been rescued from a fire at a block of flats in north Belfast.

The fire broke out at Queen Victoria Gardens in the Fortwilliam area at about 2300 BST on Saturday.

There were no serious injuries but extensive smoke damage was caused to the block of Housing Executive flats.

Residents have voiced their concerns at the lack of fire alarms installed in the building.

Sheila Hutchinson, 72, who lives in one of the flats said she feared for her life.

Fire woman
Sheila Hutchinson: "I was petrified"

"I couldn't see the fireman because of the smoke," she said.

"I was screaming 'get me out, for God's sake get me out' and he hauled me out.

"He hauled me out onto the pavement, but I was petrified."

Residents from a total of nine flats escaped and several people had to be taken to hospital for the effects of breathing in smoke.

Extensive damage was caused to one of the flats.

'Trapped'

Fire officer Bill Roswell said when fire crews arrived, a young woman was screaming that her father was trapped inside the building.

"We managed to rescue three men and one elderly woman from different flats," he said.

Mr Roswell said that though the cause of the fire was still unknown, fire crews had established where the blaze broke out.

"The fire was well alight by the time we got there and the building was heavily smoke logged, thus trapping residents in their flats."

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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See also:

07 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Investigation after flats fire
04 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Fire safety research centre for NI
27 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
Seven escape house fires
Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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