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The bonfire in the Fairway area of Larne, Co Antrim PA

Man dies while helping to build bonfire in Larne

He has been named locally as John Steele.

LAST UPDATE | 10 Jul 2022

A MAN WHO died after falling off a bonfire in Larne in Co Antrim last night has been named locally as John Steele.

The PSNI confirmed this morning that a man in his 30s died in an accident at the Fairway area of Larne.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Inspector Adrian Bryan said: “We understand that the man was assisting in the building of the bonfire when this tragic accident occurred. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.”

Inspector Adrian Boyle said earlier that is it the PSNI’s understanding that “the man was assisting in the building of the bonfire when this tragic accident occurred”.

He added that “our thoughts and prayers are very much with the family at this time”.

Boyle also confirmed that an investigation has been launched in the man’s death and appealed for any witnesses who were in the area last night, especially after 10.15pm, to come forward.

The construction of the Antiville fire was nearing completion when the incident happened.

A vigil will be held at the site this evening to remember John Steele.

Alliance Party MLA for East Antrim, Stewart Dickson, posted his condolences to social media, writing: “My deepest sympathy goes to his family and friend and the whole community as it reflects on this tragic death.”

Alliance leader Naomi Long also expressed sorrow at the man’s death, saying she hoped his family would be allowed to grieve privately.


The Antiville bonfire is one of many being built in loyalist areas across Northern Ireland ahead of traditional “Eleventh Night” celebrations.

The fires are lit to usher in the main date in the Protestant loyal order parading season – the Twelfth of July.

Twelfth commemorations in Northern Ireland mark the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne, north of Dublin, in 1690 – a triumph that secured a Protestant line of succession to the British Crown.

Meanwhile, a social media page belonging to the nearby Craigyhill bonfire said “it is with deepest sympathy the tragedy that happened to a fellow bonfire builder in the Antiville estate in Larne”.

Bonfire builders in Craigyhill are attempting to break the world record this year for the tallest bonfire.

Its post on social media continued: “It is with his family wishes that the Craigyhill bonfire carries on and beats the world record in his memory.”

The social media page added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with his immediate family circle”.