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Derry fire: 50 firefighters tackle Poundstretcher store blaze

  • 7-18-2015

About 50 firefighters have been dealing with a blaze at a Poundstretcher store in Londonderry.

The Fire and Rescue Service was alerted around 01:30 BST on Thursday after a fire alarm went off at the shop at Bishop Street.

It's understood 100 gas canisters were inside the building at the time and exploded.

There are no reports of any injuries.

When crews arrived the fire was well developed on the ground floor.

The fire service said officers had stopped the blaze spreading to premises on either side of the building.

Group commander Colm McGuigan told BBC Radio Foyle that "substantial damage" has been caused to the building.

"One fire crew attended to a fire that looked harmless at first," said Mr McGuigan.

"But a fully developed fire was going on behind the shutters of the shop.

"There were eight crews at the scene at one time, then three other crews arrived.

"This is a four-storey building and our main focus was to make sure that this fire didn't spread.

"We don't know how exactly it happened. An investigation will start.

"The Poundstretcher store has suffered substantial damage along with a warehouse on Magazine Street.

"Gas canisters and barbeque coals were exploding, popping and burning for hours."

The fire service said they will be in the Bishop Street area for several hours on Thursday.

Derry city centre manager Jim Roddy said about 15 people worked at the Poundstretcher store.

"They are very upset and distraught," Mr Roddy told BBC Radio Foyle.

"Some of them were outside the building when it was on fire this morning and they were just watching their workplace disappear.

"We have to pay tribute to the fire service. We could have lost a lot more businesses here. We hope the city centre gets back to normal later."

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC


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