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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 21:42 GMT
Man held after fire death released
Woman's body was found by striking firefighters
Woman's body was found by striking firefighters
A man arrested in connection with the death of a woman in a fire at her flat in County Down has been released on police bail.

The fire service said the cause of the blaze in Bangor was being treated as suspicious.

The fire was discovered at a flat at Ballynoe Gardens in the Kilcooley area of the town shortly after 0200 GMT on Wednesday.

The body of the woman, believed to be in her 30s, was found by striking firefighters.

When the police and armed forces on firefighting duty arrived at the scene, the flat was well alight.

They were then joined by striking firefighters who left their picket line to help at the scene.

The woman's name has not yet been released.

Yellow Goddess fire engines responded to call outs
Yellow Goddess fire engines responded to call outs
It is the first fire-related death in Northern Ireland since the beginning of the eight-day strike last Friday.

An investigation is under way to find out what caused the fire.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter Craig said it was too early to speculate on response times or whether the woman could have been saved if there had been no strike.

Later on Wednesday, three police officers rescued a man from a fire at his flat on the outskirts of Belfast.

They arrived at the fire at Derrycoole Way in Rathcoole before military firefighters with a Yellow Goddess.

The officers were treated for smoke inhalation as the armed services put out the fire.

Hoax call charges

Since 2100 GMT on Tuesday, there were 39 emergency calls - six of which were hoaxes and 26 genuine.

The Yellow Goddesses operated by soldiers and RAF crew were called out 13 times.

Meanwhile, a County Down man accused of making a hoax call to the fire service last weekend has been remanded in custody at Downpatrick Magistrate's Court.

Robert Hugh Kelly from Burrendale Close in Newcastle is also charged with making a separate nuisance call and with two charges of stealing electricity.

The magistrate said he was refusing bail because of the seriousness of the offences and the fact they caused considerable risk to the public.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Maggie Swarbrick:
"The woman's body was recovered by striking firefighters"
See also:

26 Nov 02 | N Ireland
30 Oct 02 | N Ireland
09 Apr 02 | N Ireland
08 Mar 02 | N Ireland
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