Lisburn’s week of weather hell

It was a week of weather hell across Lisburn last week.

Motorists were warned to take care when driving on untreated roads. Picture: Cliff Donaldson US1503-519cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Last Thursday, Storm Rachel brought about devastating damage to the city while thawed snow and ice refroze causing traffic chaos on Friday.

A mature tree along the Hillsborough Road was brought down striking a van and killing 56-year-old David Bell from Beechgrove Gardens, Belfast.

It is thought that Mr Bell became the only UK victim of the savage winds when he died following the freak accident close to the Lagan Valley Hospital at around 11.30am.

Andrew Ewing, the DUP mayor of Lisburn, said the freak accident had shocked the community.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic news that a man lost his life as a result of this accident involving a tree,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the man’s family at this very sad time.

“You just never know the minute. This is a terrible tragedy and totally unexpected.”

A spokersperson for the Fire Service said, “Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) received a call at 11:27am to a one vehicle road traffic incident at the Hillsborough Road in Lisburn on Thursday.

“Five fire appliances were deployed to the scene including the local Specialist Rescue Team. Tragically, one man was fatally injured as a result of the incident.

“The incident finished at 4.37pm and the incident has been passed through to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

A number of people took to social networking website Facebook to pay tribute to Mr Bell.

Lisa Anderson said: “A family friend of ours. Absolutely devastated on Friday lunch-time when I heard. RIP Davy.

“Another good person and also a fellow Glentoran supporter taken too soon.”

Veronica Madden posted: “This is so sad. My thoughts and prayers with all of his family xx.”

Amy McCrystal said: “RIP, awful, thoughts & prayers with his family x.”

The Hillsborough Road was also closed for some hours on Friday causing morning traffic chaos for commuters.

A spokesperson for the police said that the closure was necessary while they continued to carry out their investigation.

“Local police closed the road primarily because of a fatal road traffic collision, so investigators could examine the scene,” the spokesperson said.

“The road was kept closed for an extended period of time so that it could be deemed safe for passing traffic. It was reopened later on Friday.”