Fire has a way of changing things. That’s what it is, chemical change. It can destroy or replenish, and it can also, occasionally, uncover things long hidden.
In Belfast, Ireland, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service responded to a fire in the central heating boiler in the rear yard of a house.
They found the charred remains of a small cache of weapons, believed to belong to the New IRA.
“In that boiler house was a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition, including 2 AK 47 assault rifles, 2 sawn off shot guns, a high power rifle with silencer, 3 pipe bombs and over 100 rounds of live ammunition. As the fire developed, some of these rounds exploded causing significant danger to local residents and the Fire Service who were trying to put out the fire,” said Detective Superintendent John McVea.
As we know, ammunition doesn’t pose a significant danger when it is involved in a house fire, likened to an aerosol can exploding. Though, loaded firearms in a fire can pose a significant danger.
Plus, in this case, the pipe bombs could be a problem.
“The weapons, bombs and ammunition were stored on top of the hot boiler and it beggars belief that anyone would store items as volatile as bombs and bullets in a hot environment. This is simply reckless and shows a total disregard for the safety of the local residents,” McVea said. “Anyone with an ounce of sense would know that live ammunition and pipe bombs mixed with heat is a recipe for carnage,” he added.
McVea went on to say he “firmly believe these weapons belong to the New IRA.
“One of the lines of enquiry is that these AK 47 firearms were used in attempts to murder police officers in Rosnareen in November 2015 and on the Crumlin Road in January 2017. The Crumlin Road shooting in particular, also demonstrated recklessness and showed total disregard for members of the public as gunmen fired bullets into the filling station forecourt and shop, narrowly missing customers and passing motorists,” McVea said.