Fire crews battle blaze at Ballynougher Orange Hall in Magherafelt

Ballynougher Orange Hall fire. Pic: NIFRS
Ballynougher Orange Hall fire. Credit: NIFRS

Police are investigating a fire at an Orange hall in Magherafelt on Sunday evening.

The fire broke out at the building on the Aghagaskin Road on Sunday evening at around 5pm.

Fire crews from Maghera, Magherafelt and Springfield attended with 29 fire fighters and two officers in attendance.

DUP Mid Ulster MLA Keith Buchanan said the fire had seriously damaged Ballynougher Orange Hall.

Mr Buchanan said: “I visited the hall this evening as fire crews were battling to bring the blaze under control.

"One of the metal window-guards had been removed when the fire was discovered. The fire has seriously damaged the hall with the roof collapsed. "The police are investigating the circumstances. I call on anyone with information to contact the police in Magherafelt."

He added: "I also call on all political leaders to condemn those who continue to attack Orange Halls. It speaks volumes that this hall had to have metal sheets across all its windows and doors in the first place. There is no place for such hatred on society.

"The men and women of that lodge have every right to exist in Mid Ulster and live peaceably.”

UUP leader Doug Beattie described the incident as a "pointless attack".

"There are some who are intent on raising tensions. It is important, as a society, we do not allow them to do so," he tweeted.

In a statement, police said: “We received a report at around 5.00pm of a fire at the premises on the Aghagaksin Road, officers attended along with colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service who are currently at the scene. “Members of the public are asked to avoid the area. “Our enquiries are at an early stage and police would appeal to anyone with any information in relation to the incident to contact 101 quoting reference number 1480 of 30/10/22. "A report can be made using the online reporting form via Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at"

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