Belfast Telegraph

Police investigating former Belfast Telegraph building fire

By Jonathan Bell

Police are investigating a fire at the former Belfast Telegraph building early on Thursday morning.

The blaze erupted in the first floor of the empty Royal Avenue building at around 3.30am.

Two crews were sent to the scene, however, it became apparent further resources were needed and in the end eight crews tackled the fire.

The Fire Service said it was too early to say what the cause was and no one was in the building at the time.

Fire Service district commander Carl Dorris said substantial damage was caused to one room and the rest of the building untouched by the fire.

"We quickly extinguished the fire, but the building was heavily smoke logged so using breathing apparatus we conducted a search of the scene and ventilated the building," he said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and the scene has been handed over to police.

The building was home to the Belfast Telegraph for almost 130 years before owners Independent News and Media took the decision to close operations and move to its new Clarendon docks base in August 2016.

Since the move concerts have been held in the former print halls and there are plans to transform part of the building into a hotel.

Police appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

Sergeant Allister Hagan said: “The incident was reported to us around 3.40am today and a number of NIFRS appliances attended to extinguish the fire. The road was cordoned off for a time. No-one was in the building at the time and no-one was injured.

“We are investigating the cause of the fire and we asking anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area between 3-4am to get in touch with us on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 131 of 22/2/18.

“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.”

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