Northern Ireland

Cause of Carpetright showroom fire in Connswater investigated

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Media captionThe flames tore through the building as crowds looked on

Police have said they are trying to establish the cause of a fire that destroyed a furniture showroom in east Belfast.

The fire broke out at the Carpetright store at Connswater retail park at about 13:45 BST on Saturday.

More than 40 firefighters were sent to the scene, tackling the blaze inside the shop and using aerial appliances to bring it under control.

Police want anyone with information about the fire to contact them.

Alan Walmsley of the Fire and Rescue Service said the blaze was "very severe".

Image caption Firefighters had to work to prevent the blaze spreading to neighbouring shops

"It was an extremely dangerous fire to deal with - we had to fight to prevent it from spreading to neighbouring retail units," he said.

"Thankfully all the staff and members of the public had managed to escape the shop when the fire was noticed.

"While we are dealing with damage to the local economy and the retail unit, thankfully there were no severe injuries or loss of life."

Thick smoke could be seen for miles around, while flames were clearly visible through the smashed front doors of the shop.