LAST NIGHT'S horrific fire in a 15-storey tower block in Belfast is thought to have been caused by a toaster, as shocking images emerge of the blaze.
The fire broke out on the ninth floor of the Coolmoyne House flats at Seymour Hill in Dunmurry, before appearing to spread and engulf a corner of the building.
Photographs taken near to the scene showed smoke and flames rising from the high rise on the outskirts of Belfast shortly after 5.30pm yesterday evening.
— AMMG (@AMMGMedia) November 15, 2017
The inferno prompted fears of an incident similar to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London last June – in which police confirmed a final death toll of 71 this morning.
Luckily, last night’s blaze in Belfast resulted in no deaths and just four people in need of treatment as firefighters received praise for their rapid response.
One person was taken to hospital with "minor injuries" while three other residents were treated at the scene.
Reports suggest that drills had been carried out at the building after concerns were raised over safety procedures following Grenfell.
— Zippy (@princezip) November 15, 2017
The blaze was under control in just 40 minutes after crews extinguished the flames at around 6.10pm.
It has now emerged that a faulty toaster could be responsible for the fire.
Speaking to BBC NI, local community worker Julie Ann Jackson said residents were feeling “lucky to be alive”.
"They got everybody out,” she added.
— Paul Fox (@foxpaul142) November 15, 2017
Another witness said he was driving past the tower block when he saw what he thought was steam rising above the building.
"It was sort of frightening,” he said. “After what happened in England [Grenfell Tower], you think to yourself – is this another one?"
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: "We received a call at 5.40pm from the Northern Ireland Fire Services to reports of a fire on the ninth floor of Coolmoyne House.
"Four Accident and Emergency crews, five rapid response paramedics, seven ambulance officers, one doctor and two heart paramedics attended the scene.
Dunmurry flats at height of fire pic.twitter.com/fy0vhwxFQz
— Belfast Filming (@johnbushell9) November 15, 2017
"Four people were led to safety by the Northern Ireland Fire Service and handed over to the Ambulance Service for assessment.
"One person has been taken to hospital with minor injuries and the three others are still being assessed at the scene."
A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added: "NIFRS received a call to Coolmoyne House, Dunmurry, Belfast at 17.32 today. A total of eleven fire appliances were mobilised to this incident.
"On arrival, the Fire & Rescue Service were faced with a well-developed fire on the ninth floor of a block of flats. The prompt intervention of our firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control and it was extinguished at 18.10.
Well done to @NIFRSOFFICIAL at #DunmurryFire on preventing what could have been reminiscent of the recent London fire atrocity. But safety measures need to be stepped up following reports of lack of alarms as blaze spread to numerous floors
*pics credit- @BelfastLive pic.twitter.com/mQFcSMyi33
— Wee Seán the Barber (@cambridgebarber) November 15, 2017
"One person has been rescued and a number of residents were led to safety. Crews remain on scene dealing with the incident. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.
"The Fire & Rescue Service are still in attendance and would like to reassure the public that this incident does not provide any further risk to the public."
One Twitter user, who shared a picture of the fire from nearby, wrote: "Praying all are safe, as fire engulfs Coolmoyne House, Seymour Hill."
Another added: "Incredible work from emergency services at Coolmoyne House tongiht. Residents safe after a fire in one of the flats."
this is the current scene pic.twitter.com/xgixyhFIXV
— Belfast Live (@BelfastLive) November 15, 2017
In a statement, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive said: "Our immediate concern is with the residents at Coolmoyne House.
"Staff have been on site following the fire in a flat this evening and are on hand to offer emergency accommodation to any resident who requires it.
"The cause of the fire is now under investigation by the NIFRS and we will be co-operating with them fully.
"We would like to commend the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the PSNI for the immediate response."