Man (32) critical 
after city centre fire

Jack Allen Court. (DER1214PG130)
Jack Allen Court. (DER1214PG130)

A 32-year-old man remained in a critical condition at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital last night after a fire at a sheltered housing complex in Derry on Wednesday.

Police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire.

Jack Allen Court. (DER1214PG131)

Jack Allen Court. (DER1214PG131)

The man was a resident at Whitehall House which is an annex of Jack Allen Court on Hawkin Street in the city centre.

A spokesperson for the Fire Service said the alarm had been raised about an incident at the complex around 7:30pm on Wednesday.

Two appliances from Northland Road and one from Crescent Link fire station attended the scene of the incident, The fire had been extinguished when crews arrived and the injured man was transferred to hospital via ambulance. A woman in her fifties was also treated for shock using oxygen therapy.

A NIFRS service spokesperson said: “The fire is thought to have been started deliberately. The incident was dealt with at 8.18pm.”

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said many people who live at the complex would have been left traumatised by what had happened.

He said: “My thoughts go to the gentleman who is very seriously injured but also to those people who live at Jack Allen Court who I’m sure would have been left very upset and worried by this incident and perhaps it could be time to review aspects in relation to the accommodation there.”

A spokesperson for Oaklee Housing said: “The fire occurred in Whitehall House which is a separate annex of Jack Allen Court. The man injured was a tenant of Whitehall House. Whitehall House provides supported housing accommodation in partnership with First Housing and Support Services.”

The spokesperson said an investigation would be carried out following Wednesday’s incident.

“Following any serious incident Oaklee carries out a review, this will be done in conjunction with our management partners, and if necessary the statutory authorities. All emergency procedures during the incident operated to plan; Oaklee and First Housing had staff on site last night and again today. We will continue to provide support to our tenants at Whitehall House and Jack Allen Court.”

At the time of going to press there was no update to the police investigation into the fire but a PSNI spokesperson said the 32-year-old injured man remained in a critical condition.