Blaze rescue women 'lucky to be alive'

TWO Rathcoole women were said to be 'lucky to be alive' after being rescued from a fire in a block of flats in the estate at the weekend.

A 42-year-old woman was found unconscious in a bedroom at one of the properties on Rathcoole Drive at around 12.30am on Saturday (January 22).

It's thought she may have returned to the flat after initially making her escape.

The woman was brought outside and given oxygen before being transferred to hospital. It is understood she is making a good recovery.

Fire crews also broke into another flat and rescued an 84-year-old woman. She was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

The fire, which is believed to have started accidentally, caused extensive damage to one of the flats and smoke damage to a communal hallway.

Neighbours of the women said they were lucky to be alive.

"The fire was wild," said one neighbour who had to leave his home during the incident.

"I was in bed sleeping when the fire broke out and it had the whole flat in no time at all - the fire service did well to contain it.

"I'll say the women are very lucky to be alive."

Glengormley Station Commander, Mark Beresford, urged people not to put their lives at risk.

"We believe the 42-year-old woman went back inside to try and recover something from the flat," he said.

"Our advice is to get out, get the fire service out and stay out. Never go back into a burning building, no matter what is in there."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds commended the actions of the firefighters who rescued the women from the flats.

"I commend the Fire and Rescue Service for its rapid and effective response to this life-threatening incident. This fire could have resulted in serious injuries or loss of life.

"We are indebted to the firefighters for entering the block and rescuing residents who were in danger, one of whom was unconscious.

"It is a great relief that the consequences of this blaze were not even more severe. I hope that these two women will continue to make a full and speedy recovery from this terrible ordeal," he commented.