Northern Ireland news

Fire which ripped through Antrim industrial estate 'started deliberately'

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) was called to the fire at Rathenraw Industrial Estate at 20:35 BST on Tuesday. It is believed a lorry caught fire and it spread to a truck containing plastic as well as 30 other trailers.Picture by Hugh Russell.

A BLAZE which tore through an industrial estate in Antrim was started deliberately, the fire service has said.

Police are investigating after 18 lorry trailers were destroyed in the fire, which broke out at Rathenraw Industrial Estate in the town last night.

It is believed it started in one lorry and spread to other trailers, destroying property worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Some buildings were also damaged.

Firefighters battled for five hours to bring the blaze under control.

The fire affected premises owned by SP Group, which makes and imports products including safety glasses and protective window film for use on building sites.

The company wrote on Facebook: "Last night we experienced a fire at one of our warehouse locations, however we would like to reassure our customers and partners that SP Group and staff are safe and that we are committed to continue fulfilling orders."

Fire crews were called to the estate at around 8.35pm. The blaze was put out by 1.33am today.

Residents living nearby were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows closed due to large amounts of smoke.

A spokesman for the Fire Service said the fire was started by "deliberate ignition".

At the height of the blaze five fire engines and an aerial ladder were at the scene.

"Firefighters worked hard in challenging conditions to tackle the fire," he said.

"They used six water jets and a foam jet to extinguish the blaze, and also assisted with moving plant machinery to a safe location to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings."

Police said the fire caused "a significant amount of damage" and enquiries are ongoing.

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney said the fire has caused "significant financial loss for local business and employers".

DUP MLA Pam Cameron said she was "shocked and horrified" that the fire was started deliberately.

SDLP councillor Roisin Lynch said it was fortunate no lives had been lost.

"My thoughts are with the local traders as they recover from this significant disruption to their business," she added.

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Northern Ireland news