Northern Ireland news

ATO van catches fire on way to hoax alert

An army technical support vehichle is recovered after a fire. Picture Mal McCann.

A BLAZE in an army bomb disposal vehicle, which caused traffic chaos at the M1 close to Dungannon yesterday, was accidental the Fire Service has said.

The ATO vehicle and crew were on their way to a security alert at Garrison village in Co Fermanagh when the fire broke out shortly before 7am yesterday.

No one was injured although the vehicle was destroyed.

A second army unit dealt with the alert which was later declared a hoax.

The motorway was shut in both directions between junctions 14 and 15 near Stangmore, causing long traffic jams during morning rush hour.

The fire was extinguished shortly after 9.15am and later confirmed as "accidental".

"Two fire appliances from Dungannon Fire Station attended the incident," a spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Service said.

"Firefighters liaised with PSNI and Army personnel in advance of dealing with the fire."

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Northern Ireland news