Derry bonfires: Fire chief happy with multi-agency approach

Fire and Rescue Group Commander Mark Deeney.
Fire and Rescue Group Commander Mark Deeney.

The Western Area Command Group Commander of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) says the fire service’s ability to deliver a normal service was not put under pressure by this year’s August 15 bonfire in the Bogside.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday evening, Western Area Command Group Commander, Mark Deeney, praised the way in which the local community engaged with the NIFRS and the PSNI in the run up to the bonfire.

“In 2013 and 2014 we had to send fire appliances to deal with the bonfire in Meenan Square.

“This was something I wanted to avoid in 2015 so I convened a number of public meetings with the local community. We had representatives from the NIFRS, PSNI, the council, the Housing Executive, elected representatives and local residents at these meetings.

“This year, NIFRS did not have to assign additional crews to the bonfire site which meant our ability to deliver a normal service elsewhere was not affected.”

Two alternative locations to Meenan Square were put forward as potential sites to situate the bonfire. Whilst both sites were deemed unsuitable by NIFRS it was inevitable the bonfire would go ahead.

The bonfire went ahead on Saturday night on the embankment overlooking the Bogside.

“NIFRS and council staff visited the site of the bonfire at 7:20a.m. on Sunday. We extinguished the fire and the council staff cleaned the area up.”