Community rallies to the aid of blaze-hit families

Firefighters tackling the blaze. Pic by Jamie Steenson
Firefighters tackling the blaze. Pic by Jamie Steenson

Kind-hearted members of the public have made generous donations to the families affected by Saturday’s devastating fire in Ballyduff.

A number of online fundraising pages have been set up in support of the people whose homes were extensively damaged in the Ballyfore Road area.

Offers of clothing and household goods have also been made following the incident which saw four homes gutted by the flames, while other properties suffered smoke and heat damage.

To make a donation, search Ballyduff Blaze/Ballyduff Family on Just Giving. At the time of going to print, over £1,700 has been raised.

Meanwhile, homeowners are being urged to contact their insurance companies to claim any compensation they are entitled to.

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities said: “The properties involved are all privately owned. The owners would therefore, in the first instance look to their buildings and contents insurance to claim any compensation for damage to and loss of personal property.

“The financial assistance scheme put in place in 2007 by the Executive, and has been renewed as necessary since then, is designed specifically to address the immediate needs of householders in the event of flooding of homes following significant rainfall or tidal surge. It doesn’t extend to emergencies outside of flooding. The scheme is not a compensation scheme and does not replace or displace the payments that will be made by the insurance companies for the damage caused by flooding to households.”

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed enquiries are ongoing to establish the cause of the fire.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service received a call to the fire at 5.43pm on Saturday. Firefighters used five jets to stop the spread of the fire to other properties.

A NIFRS spokesperson said: “A total of four domestic properties were involved in the complex incident and NIFRS personnel were also involved in containing 2,000 litres of domestic oil to limit impact of environmental damage. NIFRS had seven pumping appliances, an aerial appliance, a command support vehicle, welfare vehicle and 50 personnel at the incident.

“Thankfully on this occasion the swift response from firefighters has prevented any serious injury, loss of life or further fire spread to adjacent properties.”

A meeting attended by representatives from a number of agencies was held at Mossley Mill on Monday to offer advice to those affected.

A council spokesperson said all affected residents are either residing with relatives or are staying in a hotel covered by their insurance.