House destroyed by fire in Down
A house was destroyed and two other homes were badly damaged after a Boxing Day fire in Castlewellan, County Down.
The blaze was first reported at around 4.30am yesterday morning.
Nobody was hurt in the fire, but the family who were renting the house lost the Christmas gifts they had bought for their children.
35 firefighters and seven appliances from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were tasked to deal with the blaze.
The fire, which is believed to have been started accidentally, was later examined by council officials to see if the houses were structurally safe.
"On arrival, the first crew found a well-developed fire in a first floor bedroom," fire service group commander Victor Spence said.
"The occupier had already left the premises and we started to evacuate adjoining houses to prevent any casualties.
"The fire was contained to the house and we believe the fire to be caused accidentally due to smoking materials."
The fire comes just days after a Rathfriland family were forced to flee their home when a nearby recycling centre caught fire.
Locals set up a JusGiving for the family which has so far raised over £12,000 – 12 times the £1,000 target.