Investigation under way after major fire in Belfast

An investigation is under way to find the cause of a major fire at a bar that saw a section of one of the busiest roads in Belfast closed for most of the day.

The blaze at the Lewis Community Tavern on the Upper Newtownards Road was reported to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service at 8.16am on Thursday.

At its peak, there were 30 firefighters tackling the incident, as well as five fire appliances and two specialist appliances.

The normally busy aerial route, which is used by commuters to travel into Belfast city every morning, was closed to traffic until late afternoon.

The building has been severely damaged.

Lewis Community Tavern
Lewis Community Tavern

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) on Thursday evening said firefighters remained at the scene.

“Firefighters are continuing to deal with a fire at a bar on the Upper Newtownards Road in East Belfast,” she said.

“The incident has been scaled back and there is currently one fire appliance in attendance at the scene.

“Firefighting operations are likely to continue for a number of hours this evening.

“Firefighters worked hard to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent homes.”

She added: “The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

#ULB Due to a fire at #Dundonald#Newtownards Ulsterbus services to/from Belfast are being diverted & are subject to delay as a result. See link for full details ^CD

— Translink (@Translink_NI) January 31, 2019

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said it would do all it could to help the bar’s owners.

“It is devastating to see the footage of the fire at one of our member’s premises this morning at The Lewis in Dundonald,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with the management and staff and we’ll do all we can to support them at this time.”