Northern Ireland news

Police investigate fire at former Belfast Telegraph building

Police at the the old Belfast Telegraph building on Little Donegall Street where a fire broke out. Picture by Mal McCann

A FIRE at the former Belfast Telegraph building in the city centre is being investigated by police.

One room in the four-storey listed building on Royal Avenue suffered "substantial damage" in the blaze which started on the first floor at around 3.30am today.

The two crews initially dispatched to the scene had to call on back-up and eight appliances fought to extinguish the fire.

No-one was in the building at the time and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the blaze is not clear.

District commander Carl Dorris said while the rest of the building was untouched by the fire, which was "quickly extinguished", it was "heavily smoke-logged so using breathing apparatus we conducted a search of the scene and ventilated the building".

After it was declared safe by the fire service, police arrived to begin their investigation.

The Belfast Telegraph moved out of the building in 2016, after almost 130 years which saw the newspaper printed there for a substantial part of its residence.

The former printing halls have been used since late last year by promoters Shine for music events.

PSNI Sergeant Allister Hagan has appealed for any witnesses in the area at the time to contact police.

"The incident was reported to us around 3.40am today and a number of NIFRS appliances attended to extinguish the fire," he said.

"The road was cordoned off for a time. No-one was in the building at the time and no-one was injured.

"We are investigating the cause of the fire and we asking anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area between 3-4am to get in touch with us on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 131 of 22/2/18."

Witnesses can also give information anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Belfast Telegraph moved out of the city centre building in 2016. Picture by Mal McCann

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