Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 13:25 UK

Fire station is damaged in blaze

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A fire station with no smoke alarm is damaged in an overnight fire at Rathfriland.

Rathfriland fire station in County Down has been badly damaged in an overnight fire.

Two fire appliances were also destroyed in the blaze which was reported at about 0400 BST.

Twenty firefighters managed to bring the fire under control but it was well advanced when they arrived, destroying the appliance bay.

"It just goes to show that fire can attack anybody," said fire service area commander Don McKay.

"We have measures in place to make sure that we have adequate fire cover in the area.

"So the local community need not worry - a fire appliance will arrive if they need one."

Mr McKay said the incident was a little embarrassing, but said it was not the first time a fire station had been damaged by fire.

There was no smoke alarm fitted in the building.

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokesperson said "the primary purpose of a smoke alarm is to alert the occupants at the early stage of fire and give people early warning to plan their escape".

"Smoke alarms do not prevent fires," the NIFRS spokesperson said.

"Rathfriland Fire Station is a retained fire station with no sleeping accommodation.

"There would therefore be no-one in the building overnight to be alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm."

It was confirmed the blaze destroyed two fire appliances and caused extensive damage to the building.

"The appliance bay has been destroyed but firefighters stopped the fire from spreading to other parts of the building, which have suffered smoke and water damage," the NIFRS spokesperson added.

"Four fire appliances, two from Newry, one from Banbridge and one from Warrenpoint fire stations attended the incident."

The police are investigating the cause of the blaze.



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