Tobermore residents worried about power cut when Eleventh bonfire goes up

Bonfire at Kilcronaghan, Tobermore
Bonfire at Kilcronaghan, Tobermore

Householders on the outskirts of Tobermore are concerned that a pre-Twelfth bonfire will again knock off their electricity supply.

Residents living at Kilross, a few miles from the village, told the Mail yesterday that the bonfire is built at the side of the road directly under power lines and close to a transformer box.

A resident, who asked not to be identified, said: “At present there is over 50 lorry and car tyres dumped along the road.”

An NIE Networks spokesperson last night stressed the dangers of placing bonfire materials close to electrical equipment.

It is understood the bonfire has been taking place at the same location - the ‘Five Road Ends’ beside Kilcronaghan Centre and the Old Rectory - for half a century but road alterations have brought the flames in contact with power lines.

“These thugs come in from Tobermore and Maghera yearly and carry out this bonfire ritual,” the resident blasted, accusing the authorities of turning a blind-eye to events.

Last July householders at the north end of Tobermore were left without electricity while NIE Networks worked to repair the damage.

DUP councillor Anne Ford said she is aware of the problem and has been working with the community for “a satisfactory result.”

A spokesperson for NIE Networks said: “Placing bonfires under or close to high voltage electricity lines is a very dangerous practice as the smoke and heat from bonfires can damage electricity equipment and in some cases may bring down live electricity lines.

“We have been working with local communities and Councils to highlight the dangers and urge everyone to put safety first this summer.”