Published Friday, 27 July 2012
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Newry warehouse blaze
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At its height, 23 fire engines and 115 fire service staff from across the region worked together to put out the flames at the clothing plant on the Newtown Road in Newtowncloghoge, Co Armagh.
When local crews arrived at the scene after 11pm on Thursday they met a serious and rapidly developing fire at a large warehouse, which was spreading to a large lorry park full of vehicles nearby.
Crews from across the region were called in to help, including those with specialist high reach fire engines.
Local residents and businesses also helped to bring water to the scene.
Brian Marmion could see the fire from his house and took eyewitness footage.
"There was a good bit of the shed in flames.
"It was really a close call, it could have been very dangerous," he said.
The fire was brought under control shortly before 6am on Friday and a number of fire engines remained at the scene throughout the day as a precautionary measure.
The warehouse at the plant was saved, but a clothing storage area was completely destroyed.
Chief Fire Officer Chris Kerr thanked the local community who helped the fire service in their efforts to extinguish the blaze.
"This is one of the biggest incidents NIFRS has attended in many years and I am confident that only the courage and professionalism of our crews prevented the incident from escalating further," he said.
"Our crews have worked in difficult and punishing conditions to prevent fire spread and while there is significant damage to property we have managed to save at least 50% of this major commercial enterprise."
More than 100 people are employed at the recycling plant, and Sinn Féin councillor for Newry Packie McDonald described the fire as a "serious blow to the local economy".
"My thoughts are with the owner of this business and its staff who will face an uncertain future due to this terrible incident."
It is not yet known how the fire began, and an investigation is underway.