Northern Ireland

Seven people rescued from fires in Belfast and Newry

Image caption Four people were rescued from the fire at Malone Mews in Belfast

Fire fighters tackling a blaze at an apartment block in Belfast have rescued four people.

The people were rescued from Malone Mews on Sandringham Street on Saturday.

The apartments, which provide self catering for guests, are owned by the Malone Lodge Hotel.

District commander Lenny Entwhistle said they were lucky to get out safely. "The fire started on the first and second floors," he said.

"One fire was on the first floor communal area that blocked escape routes.

"Firefighters had to enter the building and carry out rescues and search 14 apartments over four floors.

"At this moment in time the fire appears to be suspicious and all indications are pointing in that direction."

In a separate incident three people have been rescued from fires at neighbouring houses in Newry.

The fires took place inside terraced houses which have been converted into apartments on St Mary's Street.

Fire crews left the first building after putting out the blaze when they were called back to deal with the second. It is not known if the two neighbouring fires are linked.