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Anger and shock as residents describe fire unfolding beneath their homes - with no warning systems to alert them

Karen Philips said she was "upset and angry" that there were no systems in place to immediately alert residents about the fire unfolding in the tower block. Picture by Mal McCann

BEHIND closed doors at Coolymoyne House sobs and cries of anguish were audible throughout the common hallway as one resident caught up in Wednesday's blaze took stock of events.

The woman, who was too upset to speak, was in the apartment just a single floor above the ninth-floor flat which caught fire. She may have been considering herself lucky to be alive.

A blackened set of curtains lay slumped outside the door, evidence of the intense billowing smoke which would have engulfed the surrounding flats.

After what had happened at Grenfell Tower in London, there was considerable anxiety amongst residents when the blaze broke out.

While there was praise for the response of the Fire Service the initial panic was compounded by the fact that there was no main alarm or sprinklers in place to alert people to the danger.

Karen Phillips, who lives on the 13th floor, said she was "upset and angry".

"The neighbours saw smoke billowing up. We could hear a faint alarm but they should have an alarm here. The pensioner in one of the other flats has a hearing aid, what would have happened if he hadn't heard the knocks on the door?," she said.

"Advice leaflets were sent out around the building in the wake of the Grenfell fire, advice on what to do in the event of a fire."

Pointing to fire extinguishers, she added: "The extinguishers are here but they should be on every floor."

Keith Douglas, who also lives on the 13th floor, said he was hit by "a gust of black smoke" when he opened his window to see what was going on.

"The flames started running up past the window. I rapped my neighbour's doors. There was no alarm, I just heard the sirens. It has made me a bit apprehensive, I didn't get to sleep until 5am."

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