INFERNO RAVAGES SAWMILL

Fire crews at the scene of the blaze at Hasletts Timber products outside Limavady on Monday morning. 07604KDRJ
Fire crews at the scene of the blaze at Hasletts Timber products outside Limavady on Monday morning. 07604KDRJ

Investigations were last night underway into the mystery blaze which ravaged a sawmill outside Limavady. Up to 45 firefighters from as far away as Pomeroy battled the flames.

The blaze at W Haslett, Sawmills and Woodshavings, on the Edenmore Road was reported at around 2am. NI Fire and Rescue Service, Assistant Group Commander Mark Darrall said the fire was well alight at two buildings - roughly 70m x 20 m and a separate storage unit approx 5m x 5m - when crews first arrived, with flames coming through the roof.

“It was a large fire,” he told the Journal, as crews continued to battle the blaze.

“It has been a long and tiring night for our crews who worked tirelessly to make sure they got the fire out.”

Firefighters from Limavady, Dungiven, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Coleraine and Derry were called on to make sure there was enough water to fight the massive blaze. Additional manpower was also needed to remove large quantities of woodchippings and sawdust and logs that had been cut up.

“There was the fear of the fire spreading and it becoming a very large incident,” said Group. Commander Darrall.

Th steel framed building where the fire started stored cutting machinery, including tractors and generators.

“This is a working sawmill and they have lost a lot of stock and machinery,” said Mr. Darrall. “At this stage we don’t know what started the fire.”

Limavady Mayor Sean McGlinchey, who was going to call on the family last night, expressed sympathy.

“It’s a real tragedy, terrible news and a real blow for the business. My heart goes out to them and I hope they receive all the help they can get,” he added.