FIREFIGHTERS were called in to extinguish the remains of the Old Mossley bonfire last week following complaints from local residents about smoke billowing from the site.
The bonfire, built on council-owned land beside Mossley rail halt at The Glade, was still smoking more than a week after the Eleventh Night celebrations, sparking complaints to Newtownabbey Council from residents in nearby Weavers Wood and parts of the Mossley estate.
One local man, who didn’t want to be named, told the Times: “I’ve nothing against them having a bonfire, but it’s ridiculous that it was still burning over a week later. You couldn’t even open a window without the house stinking of smoke. And what about all the kids having to play over at the hockey club and the clouds of smoke blowing across the pitch; everyone’s just glad it’s finally out.”
Firefighters were called to douse the smouldering remains of the bonfire with foam on Wednesday, July 18. However, that effort proved fruitless and the bonfire continued to smoulder. The following day a council digger had to be used to turn over the ground before firefighters moved in again to drench the site with more foam.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said that firefighters from Glengormley Station were called out to the site twice in two days. And she revealed that it costs an average of £2,797 for each Fire Appliance to respond to an incident.
Newtownabbey Borough Council confirmed that it had received a number of complaints regarding the bonfire and had subsequently taken action in conjunction with the Fire Service to deal with the problem.
The Old Mossley site was one of nine that agreed to support the council’s Bonfire Protocol this year. The protocol is a series of guidelines about when and what type of materials can be collected for bonfires, and who is responsible for cleaning up afterwards.
“This area of land is in the council’s ownership and as such the council will ensure that it is cleared. This clause seeks to minimise the disruption caused to those living near or close to any site,” a council spokesperson commented.
“The council will be hosting a review meeting with the bonfire group in September to discuss the implementation of the protocol and agree arrangements for next year. Feedback from the public and statutory agencies will be considered as part of this discussion,” she added.