THE road around a coffin makers which was engulfed by flames will remain closed today as investigation is carried out into the cause.
One line of inquiry by the Fire and Rescue Service is that a lightning strike started blaze.
The coffin-maker’s business was set on fire on Sunday as extreme weather brought chaos in parts of the country.
It is believed the inferno in Strabane was started after a bolt of lightning struck the commercial premises as locals said they heard a loud bang just before the blaze broke out.
Firefighters from Derry, Donegal and from across the North of Ireland remained at the scene on Monday morning, but the NIFRS has been able to scale back its operation after 10 fire appliances and four specialist appliances from all over Northern Ireland were present at the height of the fire.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said Railway Street will remain closed for “the majority” of Monday and told the public to avoid the area if possible as delays are expected.
Social media images showed a huge plume of black smoke billowing from the building as flames engulfed the premises.
A section of the town was cordoned off due to the fire at coffin-maker Charles O’Doherty & Sons Ltd, on the town’s Railway Street.
District commander Andy Russell said firefighters will remain at the scene for the “near future” and hopes an investigation into the blaze can be concluded within the next 24 hours.
He added that the incident could have been much more “horrific” if employees were inside the property when the fire started.
“It was a substantial fire on this commercial premises in Strabane,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster.
“We had 10 pump appliances and four specialist appliances from throughout Northern Ireland attend.
“I have no doubt that the hard work of the responding crews ensured that this fire was maintained and managed to stop it spread to surrounding commercial premises and residential premises in the heart of Strabane.”Mr Russell said it would be an “unusual” case if the blaze was started by a lightning strike but explained the fire investigator will carrying out their enquiries when it is safe to do so.
“It will depend on how long it can take for our fire investigator to enter the premises [before we know the cause],” he continued.
“The heat within that premises will have to cool down substantially to allow us to enter and as well as that there is concerns in relation to the structural integrity of the building.
“Therefore, we have to make sure it is safe for him to enter before the investigation can be undertaken, although I would like to think in the next 24 hours we will have an outcome.”Tags: