A man has appeared in court following a fire at a historic building in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter which caused an estimated £3 million of damage.
Patrick Gough, 18, of Victoria Street in the city, has been charged with arson with the intent of endangering life.
He has also been charged with possessing class B drugs and burglary.
Firefighters were alerted to the blaze at the Old Cathedral Building at 5.37am on Monday, and more than 50 personnel were involved in the operation.
A number of small businesses and artists use the premises.
Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard the fire caused damage to buildings and contents with a total value greater than £3 million, with the Police Ombudsman’s office and the Neighbourhood Cafe and Never Never clothes shop among those affected.
A police witness said the defendant was arrested close to the scene of the fire.
This came after police viewed CCTV footage which showed a man climbing down scaffolding at the Police Ombudsman’s office.
A defence lawyer said Gough contended his client had been arrested because he was wearing clothes similar to the man seen on the scaffolding, but argued there was no facial recognition.
The court heard there was no forensic evidence linking Gough to the fire at the time of the hearing.
District Judge Mark McGarrity denied an application for bail.