Blaze in loyalist redevelopment area of Belfast

Fire at derelict buildings on the Shankill Road (Glenwood Street)
Fire at derelict buildings on the Shankill Road (Glenwood Street)

A string of buildings were consumed by flames on Wednesday afternoon in what one councillor believes may have been a deliberate blaze.

Around half-a-dozen houses in Glenwood Street in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast were engulfed by fire from around 3pm.

The homes were said to be over 100 years old, derelict, and were owned by the Housing Executive.

DUP councillor for the area Brian Kingston said that there had still been furniture in the sealed-off houses, and residents reported noxious smoke drifting across the area.

The street is one of three in the area – the others being Lawnbrook Avenue and Brookmount Street – which is due for imminent redevelopment.

Councillor Kingston said the development had been held up because the porches on some of the homes were interesting enough to have the defunct neighbourhood classified as “an area of townscape character”.

He said: “This isn’t the first fire unfortunately. There had been previous fires.”

Asked if arson was a possibility, he said: “That’s pretty much the suspicion, that this was somehow deliberate.

“I can’t say for definite, but the suspicion would be maybe youths started the fire and it spread. But we don’t know – it could be an accident”.

Demolition work – paving the way for the new Housing Executive homes in their place – is expected to begin on Monday, he said.