Northern Ireland news

Fire at Bullitt hotel treated as 'accidental'

Bullitt hotel in Belfast city centre was damaged in a fire on Tuesday

A FIRE which caused serious damage to the Bullitt hotel in Belfast is believed to have been accidental.

The blaze ripped through part of the hotel's rooftop bar on Tuesday afternoon.

Staff and customers were evacuated quickly and no one was hurt.

The Fire Service is investigating the cause of the blaze although it believes it may have begun due to an electrical fault.

Conall Wolsey, from owners Beannchor Group, said the fire destroyed the bar's kitchen and plant room.

"There is severe smoke and water damage to the building," he said.

He thanked the fire service for their "speedy response".

The hotel will be closed for the rest of the week while engineers assess the building.

"The team has been clearing out bedrooms of guests' possessions and returning them," Mr Wolsey told the BBC.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said the blaze could have become a "major incident".

Group Commander David Harbinson said firefighters had stopped the blaze from spreading across the roof to other buildings.

"It (the fire) originated on the top floor and once it breached through the roof the oxygen started to feed the fire," he said.

Mr Harbinson said a large number of firefighters searched the building to make sure no one was inside.

He said the fire was being treated as accidental.

"Once we extinguished it, we believed it originated on the top floor and we are leaning towards an electrical fire but we will do a thorough investigation," he said.

The fire caused widespread traffic disruption in the city centre during evening rush-hour on Tuesday.

Victoria Street was closed between Ann Street and High Street for several hours while firefighters tackled the blaze.

Crime drama Bloodlands, starring Co Derry actor Jimmy Nesbitt, is filming just a short distance from the Bullitt hotel.

Filming resumed today.

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