Fire crews protect Belfast homes from major bonfire
Tricolours and election posters of Sinn Féin, SDLP and Alliance politicians placed on pyre
A major bonfire burning on Saturday night, right beside terraced houses at Chobham Street, east Belfast. A large section of the pallets in the fire collapsed as they burned. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan/Alan Lewis/PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
The Chobham Street pallet pile earlier on Saturday, July 11th, before it was set on fire right beside the terraced houses. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Some of the Chobham Street houses in east Belfast being boarded up before a bonfire on July 11th, 2015. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Fire-fighters had to douse a number of homes with jets of water to protect them from a major “Eleventh Night” bonfire in east Belfast on Saturday night.
There were concerns the huge bonfire at Chobham Street, erected about 30ft from some terraced houses, would damage them.
Ahead of the fire, a number of families moved out of their homes while more than 50 houses were boarded up by Housing Executive workers at a cost of £10,000 (€13,900) to the Department of Regional Development.
Six fire tenders and 35 firefighters were at the scene as the fire was lit on Saturday night.
The crews sprayed water on some of the houses to try to protect them from heat damage. Fire officers said minor water damage might have been caused to some of them.
They said it was a complex operation and that fire officers had to work in “extremely punishing conditions” to protect the properties.
Hundreds of people gathered to watch the bonfire. A number of tricolours along with Sinn Féin, SDLP and Alliance election posters were placed on the bonfire.
A US confederate flag featuring the words LVF (Loyalist Volunteer Force) was also placed at the bonfire.
The Northern Ireland Fire Service said it received 88 bonfire-related calls through Saturday and into Sunday morning, which was down on previous years.
This was because the bonfires were taking place through the weekend, rather than on just one night.
“It is likely that reduced call numbers were due to the fact that the 11th of July this year fell on Saturday, and a number of bonfires may have been held over to be ignited on the evening of Sunday 12th July,” the fire service said in a statement.
The parades are taking place on Monday, July 13th, because Twelfth parades are not held on Sundays.