Ireland's oldest working mill damaged in huge Belfast blaze
The oldest linen mill still working in Ireland has been severely damaged in a fire.
Firefighters were called to a blaze at the premises of William Clark & Co at Upperlands, Co Londonderry yesterday afternoon, as flames swept through the 150-year-old building on the historic industrial site.
A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokeswoman said yesterday evening that 30 firefighters battled the intense heat of the blaze.
Three pumping appliances and three specialist appliances were dispatched to the incident, she added.
NIFRS Group Commander Andy Sinclair said that appliances had to be brought from as far away as Kilrea, Magherafelt and Belfast to fight the fire, which was spotted by a dog walker at lunchtime yesterday.
"When we arrived, the old building was well alight, and our priority was to try to ensure that the fire did not spread to any of the other buildings on the site," he said.
The historic building has suffered severe structural damage.
Its roof has collapsed and engineers will have to inspect what remains to see if anything of it can be saved.
The cause of the fire is not known, said Group Commander Sinclair, who confirmed that an investigation has been launched into how the blaze started.
A company spokesman said manufacturing operations of the company - which employs 35 people - will not be affected.