A blaze at the former UDR Barracks in Dungannon is being treated by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) as deliberate.
The Grade B listed building locally known as Killymeal House has fallen into a state of disrepair and has attracted anti-social behaviour in the years since it was vacated.
Firefighters from Dungannon, Cookstown, Pomeroy, Armagh, Portadown and Lisburn battled for over three hours to bring the blaze under control on the night of Friday 24 July.
Explaining how the incident unfolded, a NIFRS spokesperson told the TIMES: “Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) received a call at 6.25pm to a report of a fire at derelict premises at the Killymeal Road, Dungannon area on Friday 24th July.
“Two Fire Appliances from Pomeroy Fire Station, two Fire Appliances from Lisburn Fire Station as well as one Fire Appliance from Dungannon, Cookstown, Pomeroy, Portadown and Armagh Fire Stations were deployed to the scene. Firefighters dealt with a fire at a derelict 4 storey building in the area. The spread of fire was prevented to an adjacent building nearby.
“The incident finished at 10:06pm and is being treated as a deliberate fire. The incident has been passed through to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”
Such was the intensity of the fire which ravaged the building, concert goers at the Blues on the Hill Festival at the Hill of the O’Neill in the town were able to watch the drama unfold.
One observer has kindly provided the TIMES with their photo from the evening.
In 2006, residents of the Killymeal Road area reacted angrily after 80 trees, some of them 100 years old, were cut down on part of the site, and officials from the PSNI and Planning Service attended.