Man 'knocked off feet' by Down fire

Published Friday, 30 May 2014
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A man has told UTV he was knocked off his feet by an explosion caused by a fire inside an apartment block in Downpatrick.

Nine people, including a five-month old baby and a pensioner, escaped serious injury after the blaze broke out at the building on Saul Street at about 2am on Friday.

A wheelie bin had been set on fire.

Michael McKinney was asleep when the fire started. When he went to investigate what was happening the door of his flat was blown in, knocking him to the ground.

"When I went into my hallway the flames were coming in through the side of the door," he said.

"I could see the flames out in the main hallway and all so I phoned the fire brigade and when I was talking something exploded and the whole door blew in and blew me against the wall.

"The whole place filled up with black smoke and flames."

Emergency crews made their way into the flat and helped an unconscious Mr McKinney to safety before giving him treatment for his injuries.

He continued: "It's a nightmare - much longer and I could have been dead."

Crews from Downpatrick and Ballynahinch attended the scene and 24 firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control.

Nine people, aged between five months and 88 years old, were in the building at the time.

One person managed to escape the building before the emergency services arrived, however, three of those injured were taken to hospital and six others - including Michael - were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation following the incident.

Police said none of their injuries were life-threatening and they are investigating the fire.

There was no structural damage caused, however, the ground floor of the building was damaged by toxic fumes, the fire service said.

© UTV News
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