Belfast Telegraph

Children's birthday parties ruined after inferno guts Wigwam Roller Rink

By Claire Williamson

The owner of a popular children's birthday party venue has told of her heartbreak after it was gutted in a fire.

Wigwam Roller Rink in Bangor was destroyed after a blaze spread to the property on Faulkner Road in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police have said they are treating the fire as "suspicious".

Around 300 pairs of skates were destroyed along with the sound system and the business is now closed for the foreseeable future.

On Tuesday night, the community joined together to show the wider impact the fire has caused.  Owner Christine Snell said she had bookings until March next year and would have to start calling around to inform them of cancellations.

"It's just heartbreaking, the kids were asking me 'why?' and I couldn't answer this question," she said.

Ms Snell said they were looking for a temporary property but now after eight years of work, they would have to "start from scratch."

She said: "We are trying to find temporary property but it's all money. For a pair of skates you are talking about at least £35 and we had 300 pairs which have all been destroyed.

"We had bookings right up until March next year. On Sunday I had to call the mother of a little girl and tell her with about three hours' notice that she couldn't have her party there any more and all I could hear was her sobbing in the background."

Messages of support flooded in to the business's Facebook page.

Ms Snell added: "We were just starting to really get going and getting the children in.

"Nothing can be salvaged from it. And it's the impact on the community as well, it's as upsetting for me as it is for the community."

Detective Constable Rhonda Magennis said: "We are treating the fire as suspicious at this stage and I would appeal to anyone with information or who was in the area and noticed any suspicious activity to contact us.

"I am particularly keen to speak to three males who were in the area at the time.

"I do not believe they were involved in this incident, however, they may have observed something which might help with our inquiries into this."

The males, or anyone else with information, is asked to contact detectives in Bangor on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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