‘Senseless’ arson attack blamed for Belfast fire

The blaze that destroyed five lorries in West Belfast is being treated by police as a deliberate ignition

A number of reports of vehicles being alight and explosions at a quarry were received by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the evening of Sunday 19 May.

PSNI officers were joined at the scene of the incident on Upper Springfield Road by firefighters from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) from Springfield and Cadogan fire stations.

Using breathing apparatus, compressed air foam systems, and water, the firefighters from three appliances tackled the five lorries that had been set alight, some of which had gas canisters on board. The fire was extinguished and the incident closed by 2am, with PSNI officers undertaking searches in the nearby area.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Five lorries were completely burnt out as a result of the incident, which is being treated as deliberate ignition at this stage.

Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries.

Officers remain at the scene this morning, and enquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident are ongoing.”

Initial investigations by NIFRS however indicated that the blaze had been set deliberately and police appealed to anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area, or who has any information which might assist to get in touch.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, SDLP West Belfast councillor Paul Doherty described the deliberate ignition as a “reckless” act.

This was a senseless attack which has destroyed a number of vehicles which will have a significant impact on their owners," he said.

"Setting a fire like this poses a serious threat to the local community and it’s lucky that this fire did not spread and that nobody was injured as a result.

I’d like to thank the fire service and police for their response to this incident, extinguishing the fire in difficult conditions and making the area safe. I would appeal for anyone with any information about what happened to come forward and help police with their investigation.

I cannot understand why anyone would deliberately carry out such a reckless act and those behind this should get off the backs of the local community before it ends in tragedy.