D DISTRICT Police evacuate residents following fire, Newtownabbey
12 Jan 2012
Police in Newtownabbey responded to a fire at Woodland flats in Whitehouse at around 00.50am on Thursday morning, 12th January.
The blaze on the 1st floor meant residents on the fourteen floors of the building had to be evacuated. Police officers forced entry to a number of flats in order to safely evacuate the residents.
Residents were guided from the building by police, and with the help of a local coach company, were escorted to a local leisure centre where they were accommodated by Newtownabbey council staff.
The fire was extinguished by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.
Newtownabbey Area Commander Chief Inspector Stephen Reid said, "The fire at the Whitehouse flats is not currently being treated as malicious by police however this in no way detracts from the bravery and kindness shown by the police officers, members of the public and council staff involved in the subsequent operation.
Being woken from your sleep in the middle of the night and told that there is a fire in your building would be a traumatic experience for anyone however I believe the professionalism of the responding police officers, the community mindedness of the local coach driver along with the hospitality shown by council staff significantly lessened the trauma and stress of the situation for residents.
I was particularly impressed with the community spirit shown by the coach driver who, when approached by police in the early hours, did not hesitate to help.
I would like to offer my thanks and praise to everyone involved in successfully resolving this potentially dangerous situation and ensuring the safety and well being of the residents."