Belfast multi-cultural centre damaged in fire

Investigations into the fire are underway to see if the fire was started deliberately.
Belfast multi-cultural centre damaged in fire
Seven fire appliances were used to bring the flames under control (PA)

A multi-cultural centre in Belfast has been badly damaged in a fire.

Investigations are ongoing to establish whether the blaze at the Belfast Multi-Cultural Association property on Donegall Pass in the south of the city was started deliberately.

Vehicles belonging to people working at the centre have been previously vandalised in hate crime incidents.

More than 50 firefighters fought the blaze, which started around 8.30pm on Thursday night. Seven fire appliances were used to bring the flames under control.

No-one was inside the building when the fire started and there were no injuries reported.

The building had been used as a food bank, with volunteers distributing packages to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the association said it had been on the “receiving end of a lot of hostility and Islamophobia for years”.

“We are immensely grateful to the fire services who were there promptly and we look forward to hearing from the investigations that will follow,” it said.

“We are heartbroken and shocked by these events but it will not deter us from any of our work: our volunteers despite shaken are determined not to let down the communities we support.

“Thank you to everyone who have been in contact to check up on us and extended their support and solidarity. We are immensely grateful for it all.”

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