Gardaí investigating major fire in Co Donegal

Gardaí investigating major fire in Co Donegal
The scene of the fire. Photo: North West Newspix

Garda forensic experts are sifting through the ashes of a major fire which caused tens of thousands of euro of damage to a number of premises in Buncrana, Co Donegal.

The blaze broke out just after 9pm at Buncrana Main Street and is understood to have started in John Barr's clothing store.

The blaze spread quickly to the well-known Plaza Ballroom while a number of other premises had to be evacuated.

Emergency services including four fire tenders from Donegal and another two from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene.

At its peak, there were 60 firefighters tackling the blaze.

Gardaí sealed off the town’s Main Street as the spread continued to blaze.

Firefighters used a hydraulic lift managed to tackle the blaze through the roof of the buildings in a bid to stop the blaze spreading.

Donegal County Council stated: "Due to a major fire at Upper Main Street Buncrana the Main Street is closed from Westend to Market SQ, Ferris lane and all footpaths at upper main street are closed for public safety reasons - Main street / R238 diversions in place."

Nobody was injured in the blaze.

Local county councillor Jack Murray said the situation could have been much worse.

Gardaí investigating major fire in Co Donegal

It is believed that two local families, living in flats nearby, may have to move as a result of the blaze.

Examiners are also checking fears that some of the buildings which were damaged may have contained asbestos.

Cllr Murray said: "I have to commend the firefighters for all they did last night. I was at the scene at 8am this morning and there were firefighters who were there since 9pm. If it wasn't for them this would have been much worse.

The Plaza building goes so deep back down from the street that the fire nearly reached the Tyre Centre behind it. If that went up this would have been a much worse situation.

He added "The community is devastated. John Barr's shop supplied nearly every school uniform in Inishowen. The Plaza is the centre of the town. Any community fundraiser, concert or gig would have been there and people all have fond memories of it.

"When you walked into the plaza, the entrance was full of black and white photos of dances from the 50s and long ago. Generations of people enjoyed it.

"From the plaza you can see a list of gigs they had planned. It's vital to the community to have a venue like that."

The cause of the fire is not yet known.


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