Rain warning still in place as fire operation in Strabane after possible lightning strike and flooding clean up in Derry continues

Fire and Rescue officers this morning remain at the scene of a large blaze which has gutted a coffin-making business in the centre of the town while numerous other local facilites and businesses were affected by flooding.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 10:51 am
More rain forecast for today with yellow warning in place. (Picture: Yesterday's storms via Weather and Flood Advisory)

While the cause of the blaze remains officially under investigation, eyewitnesses have described hearing a loud crack of thunder and seeing a bolt of lightning before the fire engulfed the long established O’Doherty’s local business at Railway Street in Strabane town centre.

Cordons remain in place in the area.

Around 80 fire-fighters attended the scene at the height of the blaze and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service officers today remain in attendance at the incident in Railway Street.

“At this time members of the public are being asked to avoid the area and residents are being asked to keep windows and doors closed at present,” a NI Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson said.

Meanwhile the new waiting room area at Altnagelvin Hospital’s Emergency Department has been affected by the unseasonable heavy rain yesterday afternoon.

As a result the waiting room had to be temporarily closed.

A spokesperson for the Western Trust said: “Services at Altnagelvin’s ED remain unaffected. However, due to a reduction in space we would emphasise the importance of coming alone when attending the ED. Exemptions apply to vulnerable adults with communication difficulties and also for children.

“We are working to resolve this at present and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

A number of businesses across the Waterside were also affected by rain water entering the premises, while some roads including the lower deck of Craigavon Bridge were flooded for a time.

The Promenade in Portstewart meanwhile is closed due to structural damage caused by adverse weather.

It is expected to remain closed for some time.

Meanwhile a yellow advisory remains in place today with potentially more heavy rain storms for the north west.

The Met Office warning remains in place until 8pm tonight: ‘Slow moving heavy, occasionally thundery, showers will give a risk of flooding this afternoon and early evening’.