Mother with six children among those forced from their home
Yesterday, a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, said the cause of and site of the fire had not yet been established and the blaze was still under investigation.
The spokesman said four fire crews from Londonderry, as well as a mobile incident command centre, were deployed to the scene, and firefighters fought the blaze for four hours before the order to stand down was given.
Four sets of breathing apparatus were deployed as the firemen worked to prevent the blaze from spreading to adjacent properties.
The crews used two jet hoses and one covering hose to dampen the flames and bring the fire under control.
Among those who attended the scene was Alderman Gary Middleton, who said: “The fire could easily have resulted in absolute tragedy, as there were several homes in closes proximity to where the fire appeared to have started. These homes were all evacuated.
“One of the homes was a woman with six young children, one of them a babe in arms,” he said.
“They and other residents had to leave their homes immediately as there was a fear of the fire erupting out of control as these properties have gas fitted.”
Paying tribute to the PSNI and Fire and Rescue Service personnel, Mr Middleton said their bravery should be applauded because at any time those properties could have become engulfed the emergency services personnel in flames.
“I also want to pay tribute to all the neighbours and friends who rallied around the families put out of their homes,” he said.
“I spoke to officers from the Housing Executive, who offered temporary accommodation to those who were evacuated, but many were able to spend the night with family and friends.”
leton added: “Today we are looking at a situation where two flats are out of use. The Housing Executive were out today [Tuesday] and assured us they will do all they can to make the two damaged properties safe. They also said they would ensure the properties will be put back into use for those who are in need.”