Northern Ireland

Fire breaks out at restaurant in Crossgar

Downpatrick Street closed as firefighters work at scene of blaze

A fire broke out at AJ's Diner in Crossgar, Co Down on Tuesday PICTURE: MAL MCCANN (Mal McCann)

Firefighters have tackled a St Stephen’s Day fire at a popular restaurant in Co Down.

The blaze was reported at AJ’s Diner in the Downpatrick Street area of the village of Crossgar on Tuesday afternoon.

Around 50 firefighters attended the scene with nine pumping appliances and an aerial appliance, while police closed off Downpatrick Street to motorists.

Firefighters outside the popular restaurant on Crossgar's Downpatrick Street PICTURE: MAL MCCANN (Mal McCann)

The road remained closed on Tuesday evening and a PSNI spokesperson urged drivers to seek an alternative route for journeys.

A spokesperson for the NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said on Tuesday evening: “The fire has now been contained and NIFRS are working as quickly as possible to make the scene safe; however there may be some ongoing disruption to the local community.”

South Down SDLP MLA Colin McGrath said in a post to the X social media platform: “AJ’s is such an institution in Crossgar, I hope everyone is ok and they can recover quickly from this fire.”

Rowallane SDLP councillor Terry Andrews said in a statement posted to Facebook: “My thoughts and prayers are very much with all who have been impacted by the fire.”

Crossgar locals expressed their concern over the blaze, including disability rights activist Michaela Hollywood, who wrote in an X post: “Living in Crossgar, not everyone has heard of it. But once you mention AJs, their faces light with recognition. A cornerstone of our village - as are the surrounding businesses and homes. I hope the damage is minimised.”