Belfast Telegraph

'Disgust' at suspected arson attack on Carryduff gospel hall

By Claire Williamson

A community has been left "disgusted" following a suspected arson attack on a gospel hall in Carryduff.

It happened at the weekend at Ballymagarrick Gospel Hall on the Comber Road.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus dealt with the ground floor fire and said the cause appears to be deliberate.

Three appliances were sent to the scene just before 9am on Sunday and the incident was dealt with by 10:16am.

Police are investigating the circumstances of the fire which happened sometime between 10pm on Saturday, February 3 and 8.55am on Sunday where the the hall sustained damage as a result of a fire.

DUP councillor Luke Poots said both he and the local people were "disgusted".

He said that this was the sixth attack on a church in the greater area in the past year.

Mr Poots told the Belfast Telegraph: "The local people are disgusted. The Saturday night meeting was on and they closed the hall up.

"On Sunday morning when they inspected it the hall had been vandalised and all the chairs piled up as high as possible.

"Praise has to be given to the members of Ballymagarrick Gospel hall who when building their gospel hall made sure the building was fire resistant in fact even the seats the intruders stacked to set on fire were also fire resistant.

"The members put a lot of thought into building that hall and made it fit for purpose so the fire couldn't get properly going."

He said the local community were shocked at the incident.

"Whether your children went to Sunday school or a meeting or the bible club, a lot of people in the community would have been in and out of it at some stage.

"If you aren't linked to the church you are linked to the people in it."

He added: "I would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious between last night and this morning to contact the police."

Inspector Niall Collins said: “I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area of this hall to contact Detectives in Lisburn Police Station on 101, quoting reference 509 04/02/18.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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