Neighbour ‘banged and banged’ to raise alarm as fire struck three properties

A house had been destroyed and two others badly damaged in a fire in Castlewellan, County Down
A house had been destroyed and two others badly damaged in a fire in Castlewellan, County Down

A fire in County Down in the early hours of Boxing Day has destroyed one house and badly damaged two others.

Thirty-five firefighters and seven appliances tackled the blaze at Mill Hill in Castlewellan.

No-one was hurt in the blaze at Mill Hill

No-one was hurt in the blaze at Mill Hill

The blaze, which was reported at 4.30am, started in a rented property and spread to two neighbouring family homes, although no-one was injured.

The rented house was destroyed and the other two damaged.

A family escaped from one of the other houses after being alerted, but it is understood they lost a number of possessions, including Christmas presents for their children.

Sinn Fein councillor Pol O Gribin said: “It was a neighbour actually woke up. He banged and banged on the door to get them up.

“The fire brigade said without that man being aware of the fire going on, there could have been the possibility of life being lost.”

The fire is believed to have started accidentally.

“On arrival, the first crew found a well-developed fire in a first floor bedroom,” fire service group commander Victor Spence told the BBC.

“The occupier had already left the premises and we started to evacuate adjoining houses to prevent any casualties.

“The fire was contained to the house and we believe the fire to be caused accidentally due to smoking materials.”

Council officials are cordoning off the properties because they may be structurally unsafe.