Police investigate cause of devastating Derry nightclub fire
Police are investigating a major fire which tore through Envy nightclub in Londonderry.
Police closed two main roads into the city centre after the fire broke out at the nightclub shortly before 7pm on Thursday.
The club is situated directly opposite Strand Road PSNI station and was closed at the time of the fire.
The public were advised to continue to avoid the area on Friday morning.
Detective Sergeant Gavin McLaughlin said: "Fire Service personnel and police officers have been in attendance throughout the night and remain at the scene this morning.
"Enquiries are currently ongoing to determine the cause of the fire and members of the public are reminded to avoid the area and to allow extra time for their journeys due to ongoing police diversions."
Four Northern Ireland Fire Service pumps and two aerial appliances were sent to the scene.
— Leona O'Neill (@LeonaONeill1) January 9, 2020
Police on the scene of the major Derry fire say that the roof of the Envy nightclub which is well ablaze contains asbestos. Loud bangs can be heard as the fire takes hold pic.twitter.com/Vc63aUYxCH
Nearby buildings, including the North West Regional College, were evacuated as firefighters dealt with the fire, which saw thick black smoke bellow out across the River Foyle.
Rosemary Boyle said that she noticed smoke coming from the rear of the premises and called the emergency services.
“I was walking home down the Strand Road and I heard what sounded like fireworks coming from inside Envy nightclub. There was constant popping and I looked up at the back of the building and could see smoke.
“There was no one else around except another woman who said she knew the owner of the buildin,” she said.
“She rang him and I rang the fire brigade. All the while the sound of fireworks was getting worse.
“I was standing there looking up at it as the fire started to catch the roof. The fire brigade came quickly and we were evacuated.”
Sinead Harkin, who works in a Mr Chippy fast food takeaway next door to the nightclub, said she was in shock looking at the ferocity of the fire. “I looked out and saw what I thought was fog in the street,” she said. “I went to the door and saw loads of smoke and fire engines coming down the street. I didn’t actually realise how bad it was until I went out onto the street.
“I ran back into the shop and turned the gas and electric off in the shop, and then the police came in and told us to get out quickly. I am just in shock.”
Anyone with information on the fire has been asked to contact police on 101.
Belfast Telegraph Digital