Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Co Down fire extinguished after 48 firefighters tackle ‘accidental’ blaze

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A local councillor has spoken of the “devastation” in Newtownards after footage of an explosion during the fire at a commercial premises emerged.

Firefighters had been battling the fire at a Cordners shoe shop on Conway Square since 6.30am this morning.

Video footage circulating on social media showed an explosion as the fire engulfed the shop.

Emergency services at the scene of a fire in the Conway Square area of Newtownards. Image: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

In an update, Andy Burns, Group Commander at the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said:

“A fire at a commercial premises in Conway Square in Newtownards has now been dealt with.

“Firefighters were in attendance from 6.32am this morning, Friday 8 March.

“At the height of the incident, approximately 48 Firefighters attended the scene, along with 2 Fire Appliances from Newtownards Fire Station, 2 Fire Appliances from Bangor Fire Station, 1 Fire Appliance from Comber Fire Station, 1 Fire Appliance from Knock Fire Station, 1 Fire Appliance from Donaghadee Fire Station, an Aerial Appliance from Knock Fire Station and the Command Support Unit from Lisburn Fire Station. Seven Officers were also in attendance.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used six jets to extinguish the fire.

“Due to the tireless efforts of our Firefighters, the fire was brought under control which prevented the fire from spreading to neighbouring properties.

“We would like to thank the public for their patience whilst we dealt with the incident.

“The cause of the fire is believed to have been accidental and the incident was dealt with by 4.48m. There were no injuries and the scene has now been left with PSNI.”

The fire at a shop at Conway Square, Newtownards

The blaze has broken out in Cordners shoe shop, Newtownards

Emergency services at the scene of a fire in the Conway Square area of Newtownards. Image: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

A number of roads have been closed due to the fire in Newtownards town centre

Black clouds of smoke had been seen billowing out of the building as firefighters worked to bring the situation under control.

Roads including Regent and the High Street were closed as a result, with cordons in place and impacts on local bus services in the area.

Watch: Riccardo Cafolla says it’s a sad day for Newtownards after fire breaks out at Cordners

The roads around the blaze have since reopened.

DUP Councillor Naomi Armstrong-Cotter said she was devastated at the incident.

“My heart absolutely aches for the owners of Cordeners. This is a shop the community has relied on for years, I personally have shopped in it since my children were little,” she said.

“It’s devastating for them and for the community. This is not some large company who loads of different shops, this is a small shop. The staff in it know everyone and have watched children grow up through the store.

“My heart also goes out to the shop owners of the neighbouring businesses who have also lost trade today – I know personally the pharmacy beside it has many customers who will now have been delayed in picking up their prescriptions for the weekend.”

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