The emergency service operation at the scene of a major fire in Derry is set to continue for several hours and possibly overnight.
A statement from the PSNI Operations Manager for Derry and Strabane said: “We appreciate that the fire at Queen’s Quay this afternoon caused a lot of disruption to movements in the area and may continue to do so for another few hours.
“We closed off Queen’s Quay and Strand Road so that the fire service could tackle the blaze from both sides in safety-and more importantly so that we could mitigate any risks to pedestrians or motorists.
“This was a major incident, and one of the most intense fires that I have seen for some time. The fact that the fire service deployed over 100 firefighters and eight appliances, including two aerial platforms, shows that.
Unfortunately, the closure of these two main routes put an extra strain on other roads and streets and that led to some inconvenience.
“Through their sterling efforts, the firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to other businesses and affecting other livelihoods.
This was a major incident, and one of the most intense fires that I have seen for some time-Chief Inspector Andy Lemon
“We do not yet know how the fire started; a full investigation will be carried out.
“I want to thank those affected for their patience and fortitude.”
Meanwhile, those left without access to their homes tonight have been offered shelter at Brooke Park Leisure Centre in Rosemount by Derry City Council.