50 firefighters tackle huge blaze at Poundstretcher store
Around 50 firefighters are tackling to bring a major blaze under control at a Poundstretcher store which was sparked in the early hours of the morning.
The Londonderry skyline was filled with a cloud of smoke as the blaze was sparked at around 1.34am on Thursday morning.
The Northern Ireland Fire Service responded to a report of an automatic fire alarm in the store on Bishop Street, Londonderry.
Crews were met with a well-developed fire in the ground floor of the premises.
A total of eight fire appliances were deployed to the well-developed fire.
A NIFRS spokesman said around 100 small camping gas cylinders were reported to be inside the premises as around 50 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus dealt with the fire.
The incident concluded at 1.34am on Friday July 17 and the case is currently under investigation.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he could hear the explosion from his house.
He tweeted: "Woke by loud explosion at Poundstretchers Derry overnight. This was scene from my house at 4am.Thoughts with staff."
Sinn Fein MLA Maeve McLaughlin praised the Fire Service for containing the major fire.
Woke by loud explosion at Poundstretchers Derry overnight. This was scene from my house at 4am.Thoughts with staff. pic.twitter.com/UsB7pEOTAm— Martin McGuinness (@M_McGuinness_SF) July 16, 2015
Ms. McLaughlin said "I would like to express thanks to the Fire Service in containing a major fire in the Pound Stretchers store in Bishop Street last night.
“This fire had the potential to spread to adjourning buildings and given the dangers that some of the materials in the store posed the fire fighters done a great job in containing it.
“It is disappointing that 15 people employed at the store will now face uncertainty on their future employment.
“I spoke to some of them this morning and many were very upset but I am heartened that City Centre Management and the local Chamber of Commerce will now begin to look at alternative premises.
“I will continue to work with everyone in order to safeguard these jobs and see Poundstretchers opened again in Derry.”