Three Flowers bar is gutted after overnight blaze
One of Londonderry's largest and most well-known bars has been gutted by an accidental fire that took firefighters nine hours to bring under control.
Up to 30 firefighters spent more than nine hours overnight battling the blaze at the Three Flowers in Coshquin.
Smoke was seen coming from the thatched roof of the building, situated off the Buncrana Road area near the border with Donegal at around 10.30pm yesterday.
Dozens of punters on the ground floor had to be evacuated, while a crowd of up to 100 people gathered outside the inferno.
In total, six fire and rescue service appliances were dispatched to the scene from Northland Road and Crescent Link stations in Derry, with back-up from Strabane and Limavady.
Due to the intense heat of the blaze, a specialist hydraulic platform vehicle was also sent from Belfast to allow firefighters access to the roof to remove the thatched material which had not yet caught fire.
Speaking from the scene this morning, Fire and Rescue District Commander Willie Lynch said that while no-one had been injured, the entire building was destroyed.
He said: "We received a report of a chimney fire, made our way onto the roof and found the flames coming from underneath the thatch around the chimney stack. We believe it was caused by a chimney fire. We saw the fire was taking hold and we had to evacuate the bar.
"Despite our very best efforts to get in front of the fire to get it isolated, we were not able to succeed, which has resulted in the entire roof being lost.
"What hasn't been burnt off on the thatched roof has had to be removed."
Mr Lynch said the damage also spread to the downstairs area of the bar.
"There is fire and water damage to the ground bar and restaurant and the first floor function room."
The proprietors, Ciaran and Marina McFadden, were today said to be devastated by the blaze after watching the fire brigade's efforts of several hours last night. Les Doherty, brother of Mrs McFadden and chairman of the local Vintners' Association, visited the couple at the scene last night.