A blaze that destroyed a large quantity of pallets at a bonfire site in south Belfast was started deliberately, the NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said.
Firefighters were tasked to the site at Wellwood Street in the Sandy Row area shortly before 10am on Monday (June 18).
One appliance extinguished the blaze and bonfire builders immediately returned to the sprawling car park to reorganise the remaining bonfire materials.
The NIFRS said: “Firefighters dealt with a fire involving a large quantity of pallets. The cause of the fire appears to be deliberate.
“The incident was dealt with at 10.24am.”
One of the bonfire builders told the News Letter they would not be deterred by the incident.
We’ve had the fire lit early a few other years too but it won’t stop us. We’ll just make it bigger and better so they’re wasting their time,” he said.
Some local people reported a man seen riding a bike away from the scene as the fire started.
The Sandy Row bonfire has been at the centre of some controversy in recent years, mainly due to it having been sited close to a ten-story apartment block at Victoria Place.
The traditionally large fire is also in the area of the Holiday Inn hotel in Hope Street.
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