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Oil tank fire prompts safety advice to homeowners

An oil tank fire in Dunmurry, Belfast that yesterday (15 June) caused extensive damage to three houses has seen prompt action by domestic oil heating and cooking industry association OFTEC, which has issued advice to householders.

Although investigations by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are ongoing, it is believed the blaze first started in a shed then spread to an oil tank.

This appears to have ruptured, which then caused other oil tanks nearby to also catch fire.

OFTEC is now warning householders to ensure fire safety is given due consideration when installing and protecting oil tanks.

Nearly 70% of households in Northern Ireland use oil as their main heating source, as well as many more homes around the UK – typically those located off the gas grid.

OFTEC’s David Blevings said: “Oil tank fires have the potential to be extremely dangerous and, as sadly highlighted in this case, to substantially damage properties.

“Oil is a very safe fuel if stored correctly and the best way to protect yourself and others is to make sure your oil tank and any fuel-burning appliances are inspected and serviced by an OFTEC-registered technician at least once a year.”

This will ensure that installations meet Building Regulation standards, including placement of fire safety panels where required, he added.

“Should fire occur, the fitting of a fire panel can be instrumental in halting its spread to your property and beyond.

“Last night’s fire highlights the very real threat of unprotected oil tanks and we are strongly urging householders to review the positioning of their oil tank and if necessary, to take action,” said Mr Blevin.