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Asbestos warning follows major fire in Buncrana town centre

One of Inishowen's oldest stores was destroyed and Buncrana's Plaza ballroom was gutted in a major fire on Sunday night. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

AN asbestos warning was issued following a fire in Buncrana town centre in Co Donegal.

Fire crews from both sides of the border fought throughout the night to bring the blaze under control after the alarm was raised shortly after 9.30pm on Sunday.

One of Inishowen's oldest drapery shops, Barr's, was completely destroyed while extensive damage was caused to the adjacent Plaza Ballroom.

The Excelsior bar was severely damaged by smoke and water but there were no injuries.

The Plaza Ballroom, built in 1958 by the Barr family, was hugely popular throughout Inishowen and in nearby Derry throughout the showband era.

Following the “ballroom of romance” era, it was used as a concert and also for community events.

At the height of the blaze, more than 60 fire fighters were involved in efforts to bring it under control.

Flames were visible for miles around and some residents on Buncrana's Main Street had to be moved.

Main Street remained closed yesterday and Donegal County Council issued a warning not to venture towards the area as there were concerns asbestos was present in some of the buildings.

Residents were also warned to keep all windows closed while experts completed an assessment.

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