Belfast Telegraph

Arcade fire ignited at both entrances

By Paul Dykes newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

SEPARATE fires were lit at both entrances to North Street Arcade in Belfast, and elsewhere within the building, police forensic experts revealed today.

SEPARATE fires were lit at both entrances to North Street Arcade in Belfast, and elsewhere within the building, police forensic experts revealed today.

The historic 1930s arcade in Belfast was all but destroyed almost two weeks ago in the biggest fire seen in the commercial heart of Belfast in years.

PSNI forensic investigators are now certain that the fire was no accident, and have appealed again for anyone with suspicions about the blaze to contact CID at Musgrave Street police station.

"A number of seats of fire have been found," a PSNI spokeswoman revealed.

"We are continuing to treat the fire as suspicious. It is thought that fires were started at both entrances, in Donegall Street and North Street."

A spokesman for the owner of the building, Acheson Elliott from William Ewart Properties, said he was stunned by the news.

"As owners of the property, we are astounded that someone would burn down a lively arcade that is home to 22 or so businesses, and attempt to destroy a significant listed building that represents part of Belfast's heritage," he said.

"It is our intention to look at retaining the facade on North Street, and we have meetings organised with Planning Service and listed building people."

"This is very serious news," city councillor Eoin O'Broin said today, "and I will be contacting council officials to see what we can do from here."

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