Fire Service praised for Agherton Grange evacuation

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East Londonderry MLA John Dallat has offered his sympathy to the residents of Agherton Grange where a fire broke out on Boxing Day.

Mr Dallat, who visited Agherton Grange recently, said: “I am so sorry for the residents of Agherton Grange who I had the privilege to meet in recent times at an event in this sheltered accommodation.

“They are great people and my sympathy goes out to them and the staff who work so hard to make it a very homely place for the resident who live there.

“I sincerely hope that the damage caused will be repaired as quickly as possible and normality can be restored to those affected.

“I wish to join with others in thanking the emergency services and all those who done such marvellous work to ensure people were rescued and taken care of in the aftermath of what must have been a dreadful event.

“I have no doubt a thorough investigation is under way to establish the cause of the fire.

“However, in the meantime, I believe everyone can be contented that the evacuation was successful and there was no loss of life.

The alarm was raised at 7.45pm on Boxing Day.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Fire Service said: “On arrival, the initial fire crew discovered a well-developed fire within a flat which went on to involve one wing of the building.

“A total of 5 fire appliances, one aerial appliance and a total of 32 firefighters attended and quickly brought he incident under control. Unfortunately one wing of the building has been severely damaged. The fire was prevented from spreading to the remainder of the building which remains in use.

“Residents were evacuated by staff and firefighters to safe areas of the building and the local Presbyterian Church has provided shelter and support for those affected.

“One male casualty was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and has been taken to hospital by ambulance. There are thankfully no reports of any other injuries.

Crews will remain on scene for some time and will work with partner agencies to ensure that those affected can return to their accommodation as soon as possible.