Northern Ireland

Houses damaged in fire at Ballyoran Park in Portadown

Several properties were damaged in the blaze after the fire spread from one house to several others
Image caption Several properties were damaged in the blaze after the fire spread from one house to a number of others

A number of homes and gardens have been damaged in a fire in Portadown, County Armagh, after an oil tank caught alight.

It happened at about 16:00 BST on Saturday - the blaze spread from one house to neighbouring properties in Ballyoran Park. It gutted one house and badly damaged two others.

No-one was injured, but two dogs died as the fire spread.

At this stage police have said they are not treating the fire as suspicious.

Fire station commander William Weir said five pumps were brought in to bring it under control.

"On arrival the first crews found two houses well alight and the fire spreading either side of them along a row of five terrace houses," he said.

"It quickly became apparent that there was an oil tank involved which had allowed its contents to ignite which spread to a second oil tank in the house next door which then further added fuel to quite a large fire.

Image caption The fire started after some rubbish, which had been burnt in a garden earlier in the day and left unattended, e-ignited

"The fuel then followed through the gardens of the remaining houses in the street and set fire to a further six garden sheds and some fencing.

"It was quite a large fire and it took crews approximately 35 to 40 minutes of hard fire fighting to stop it spreading to the other properties and to bring it under control and extinguish it."

Mr Weir said an investigation by the fire service and police had concluded that the blaze had started accidentally.

"Basically what happened was that some rubbish in the garden which had been burnt earlier in the day and left unattended re-ignited and set fire to a fence and then compromised the oil tank allowing its contents to become involved in the fire and from then the fire grew in intensity," he added.