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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 18:05 GMT
Man dies in flats fire
The blaze damaged the roof of the building
The blaze damaged the roof of the building
The police are investigating the cause of a fire at a block of flats in County Armagh which claimed the life of a man.

The victim, who was in his 40s, died in the blaze at a first floor flat in Westland Road, Portadown.

The alarm was raised just after 0700 GMT on Sunday by a passer-by who tried to rescue the victim.

However, he was beaten back by the smoke and flames which spread to the roof of an adjoining block of flats.

Kevin Synnott of the Northern Ireland Fire Service said a fierce fire was under way when crews arrived.

Kevin Synnott: Officers were confronted with fierce fire
Kevin Synnott: Officers were confronted with fierce fire

"It was that bad, that it had broken through the roof and flames were actually leaping above the roof," he said.

"Two fire fighters wearing breathing apparatus were quickly sent to a first floor flat.

"Shortly after getting into it and fighting the fire, they found the body of a man."

Second death

Mr Sinnott said 20 fire fighters were on the scene at the height of the blaze.

"One of the biggest problems was that in each of the blocks there are six flats," he said.

"So we had to make sure that there was no-one else in those flats who needed our assistance.

"Thankfully, all the flats were unoccupied."

It was the second fire death in a block of flats in Northern Ireland within the space of a few days.

A blaze at flats in west Belfast on Wednesday claimed the life of a 58-year-old man.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Noreen Erskine reports
"Police have begun an investigation into the cause of the fire"
See also:

27 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Man dies in flats fire
26 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Families escape injury in house fires
06 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Woman rescued from house fire
Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more Northern Ireland stories