Fire guts city store

March 9, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

A city centre business has been left counting the cost after a fire completely gutted the premises.

The blaze broke out in Around a Pound on Hill Street shortly before 6.00pm on Thursday.  Despite the Fire Service arriving on the scene within minutes, flames quickly engulfed the store, which sells household goods.

As the inferno spread through the three-storey building, the roof and internal walls of the property collapsed.

Using specialist equipment, fire crews battled for hours to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjacent buildings.

Hill Street was closed to traffic and pedestrians, and nearby businesses were evacuated.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander John Denvir said that crews remained at the scene overnight to watch for a possible re-ignition in the premises.

“Crews got there very quickly, but even in the short time it took them to get there from Newry station the fire had got hold,” he said.

He said that the types of materials stocked in the premises, such as lighter fluid, had meant the fire spread quickly.

Early indications have suggested that the fire started accidentally.

On behalf of Newry and Mourne District Council, Mayor John Feehan, conveyed his sympathy to the owner of the business, Mr Gerard Morgan.

Mr Feehan visited the premises on Friday morning and met with Mr Morgan and also with representatives from Newry City Centre Management and Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade who have accommodation in the same building.

He offered his full support and that of the Council, saying it would assist in any way possible to alleviate the hardship and difficulties being experienced at this time.

Mr Feehan added that he would use his position to assist those affected to perhaps transfer their services to other facilities and hopefully avert the loss of employment.