Tower block residents fundraising after losing all belongings in fire

People gather at the scene of a fire at Coolmoyne House in Dunmurry, near Belfast, where residents have been evacuated from the building
People gather at the scene of a fire at Coolmoyne House in Dunmurry, near Belfast, where residents have been evacuated from the building

Residents who lost everything in a blaze at flats near Belfast have begun fundraising.

Firefighters were praised for averting loss of life after a fire broke out in the high-rise tower block.

Residents Robert Zwaagman and Janice Sloan of Coolmoyne House in Dunmurry, near Belfast, where they and other residents have been evacuated from the building following a fire

Residents Robert Zwaagman and Janice Sloan of Coolmoyne House in Dunmurry, near Belfast, where they and other residents have been evacuated from the building following a fire

It burst through windows of a ninth-floor apartment in Coolmoyne House in Dunmurry, causing scorch damage on two sides of the 14-storey property on Wednesday evening.

Two people were hospitalised after a serious incident suspected to have been caused by a toaster.

Residents expressed anger and claimed some alarms did not sound but firefighters said systems worked as expected.

DUP leader Arlene Foster was among those visiting the tower on Thursday.

She said: “Everyone has pulled together during this frightening experience.”

A crowdfunding page has been established.

It said: “We are trying to raise money to help the residents of Coolmoyne House that were affected by the fire and have been left with nothing.”

The man whose flat caught light was rescued by firefighters who helped lead other residents to safety.

Paramedics tended to four patients, a Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman said.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said the alarm system operated as designed, with the alarms inside the man’s flat sounding and a soundless alarm system in the communal area to open air vents also activating.

Alarms in other flats should only have sounded if they detected smoke, the organisation said.

Crews had averted the spread of the fire to other flats.

Robert Zwaagman, who lives on the 12th floor, said the first he knew of the blaze was when fire crews arrived.

He insisted an alarm should have sounded throughout the building.