Ongoing Belfast fire leaves city smelling ‘rancid’

An ongoing blaze at the M2 business park outside Belfast has left much of the city smelling ‘rancid’ after major quantities of animal feed caught fire.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 1:09 pm
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 1:37 pm
The scene this morning after firefighters spent the night battling a large fire at a warehouse on Duncrue Street which broke out shortly after 11pm last night. Photo Laura Davison/Pacemaker Press

The Fire Service was alerted to the Duncrue Street blaze at 11.10pm on Thursday night and is still attending the blaze as of almost 1pm on Friday.

“Fire crews have worked hard throughout the night in difficult conditions to bring the fire under control and to protect neighbouring property,” said a spokeswoman for Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.

“As result of the extensive fire in Duncrue Street, large amounts of animal grain have been burnt. The site held numerous type of grain and it is difficult to determine what grain is still on fire. The crews will remain on site throughout today dealing with the incident, which is still ongoing. The roof and high rack shelving collapsed, which is making it arduous to dig through the materials on fire.

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Firefighters tackle the huge blaze at commercial premises at Duncrue near Belfast docks on Friday night. At its height over 15 fire appliances from all over NI attended the fire. It could be seen from miles around Belfast and closed many roads in the area. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

“The advice NIFRS has issued to the public in relation to the smoke is to keep doors and windows closed and avoid the area where possible. This is due to the volume of smoke being produced while crews extinguish the remainder of the fire.

“Thankfully Fire Crews have not incurred any injuries dealing with this difficult incident. At the height of the incident a total of 13 fire appliances and more than 60 fire personnel were in attendance.”

Agri technology company Devenish also released a statement about the fire.

“Late in the night of Thursday 14th November, a major fire broke out at our Distribution Centre in Duncrue Street, Belfast,” it said. “Thankfully, no employees were inside the building during this time and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene quickly. This has not impacted production at our separate mill facility, which continues to operate as normal.

“We would like to thank the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for their incredible effort to tackle this fire throughout the night. We are now working closely with them and PSNI to establish the cause of this incident and next steps.”

Plumes of smoke carried across the city during the night. One resident asked on Twitter if there had been a fire overnight somewhere, adding that the entire city centre smells “rancid”.

Another resident said they could smell “burnt grain” as far away as the Ormeau Road.