A large fire broke out just before 1pm on Wednesday inside a busy restaurant on the Queen’s Quay in the riverfront area of Londonderry.  The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service quickly declared the blaze as a ‘major incident’ leading to the area being cordoned off and residents in adjoining flats complex being evacuated. At its height 28 fire appliances and 130 firefighters from across Northern Ireland were working in tackling the blaze.

Early contact from the emergency services alerted the RRT local team leader who attended site directly co-ordinate and set up assistance.  The core RRT team were alerted as to the developing situation and gathered off site before arriving along with the resource trailer and support vehicles and quickly swung into action.

Firstly power, lighting and marquees where set up beside the Fire Command Centre.  The team then worked tirelessly throughout the night to keep the front line emergency workers and displaced residents supplied with tea, coffee, soup, rolls, sandwiches, chocolate bars, energy drinks, bananas and even strawberries!

The RRT would like to thank Marks and Spencer’s and Tesco for their fantastic support and help in supplying food and drinks throughout this incident.

PSNI Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said it was one of the biggest fires he had ever seen in the city – “I actually watched it from my office and it started off with small wisps coming from the roof and then very quickly there was smoke billowing from the eaves developing into a major fire. At one stage the roof actually collapsed in the centre and we had flames 20 maybe 30 ft high. The potential was that this fire could have spread to the whole of the block.”

The RRT were personally thanked by the commanding officers of the emergency services with PSNI Sergeant saying ‘we are mightily impressed with the support RRT offered us….. your assistance helped us maintain our presence on the ground…. We are very grateful’.

This was a major fire, and damage was extensive to the premises involved, but thankfully there were no injuries reported.  RRT Northern Ireland were glad to have been able yet again to “serve people with care & compassion in times of need”.

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