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Watch: Firefighters battle Newry gorse fire near school as homes evacuated

Fire service were called to the scene shortly before 9pm

Firefighters battled a large gorse fire that threatened to engulf several homes and a school in Newry last night (Friday).

Fire crews were called to the blaze near St Mary’s High School in the city at about 8.50pm.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) Group Commander, Brian Stanfield, said eight fire appliances have been deployed to the scene.

A number of roads were closed during the operation.

An eye-witness, David Cadden, told BBC News how people were in tears.

“We decided to just take a walk up to make sure that there was no-one in danger, because it looked quite serious,” he said.

“As I was going up, there were people running out of their house, crying… it’s been quite dramatic really.

“I walked up to the back of their houses and the fire was literally a stone’s thrown away, with ash falling down and embers hitting the roof.

“They were all running out of the house in their pyjamas, with dogs in their hands, and running across the street.”

Councillor Valerie Harte said that at one point some house owners believed that the gorse fire was going to spread to their property.

“There was huge fear and concern that the fire was going to engulf some homes. Thankfully that wasn’t the case,” she said.

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