O'Doherty family 'absolutely devastated' as Strabane coffin factory burns down in suspected lightning strike

The owners of a Strabane coffin factory destroyed by fire in a suspected lightning strike on Sunday have spoken of their devastation.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 6:29 pm
Firefighters tackling the blaze on Sunday. Picture posted by Daniel McCrossan MLA who owns a pub across the street.

O’Doherty & Sons Ltd., has been operating in Railway Street in the town for over a hundred years.

Its factory burned down on Sunday amid thunder and lightning storms across the north west. Local people reported that it had been hit by lightning although the cause of the fire is still under official investigation.

Following the blaze Manus and Charles O’Doherty, on behalf of O'Doherty & Sons, said: “As a family we are absolutely devastated that a fire has destroyed our much loved family business on Railway Street in Strabane on Sunday.

"We are relieved that no one was hurt or injured in this fire.

"O’Doherty & Sons Ltd has been a part of Railway St since 1908 and we’ve been part of the fabric of Strabane town. It’s therefore a sad day for us to see so much of our family history destroyed by this fire."

Railway Street was closed on Sunday as dozens of fire fighters were dispatched to bring the fire under control.

The O'Doherty family said: "We would like to thank the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for attending the fire, for getting it under control, for saving neighbouring properties and for protecting our community.

Fire appliances on Railway Street. Photo posted by Órfhlaith Begley MP

"We would also like to thank our employees, customers, suppliers, the public, and local businesses for their many messages of support at this tough time.

"We will take the next few days to reflect on what happened and plan for the future along with our dedicated and hardworking staff.”

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan, who owns a pub across the street from the factory, said: "Huge thank you to the firefighters who have worked tirelessly to contain the fire O’Doherty’s, Strabane. The full support and thoughts of this community is with the O’Doherty family and the workers of the factory now and in the days and weeks ahead."

Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley said: "Sincere thanks to all the firefighters still here many hours after the fire started in Strabane. My thoughts this evening are with the O’Doherty family."

An image of the fire taken by Daniel McCrossan