Europe

Buncrana Plaza manager 'devastated' over fire

Damage inside the Plaza ballroom in Buncrana
Image caption Damage inside the Plaza ballroom in Buncrana

The manager of an entertainment venue in County Donegal, which was destroyed in a fire on Sunday night, has said she is "devastated".

More than 60 firefighters responded to the blaze on Main St in Buncrana.

The fire caused damage to the The Plaza Ballroom and the John Barr fashion shop. No-one was injured in the incident. The cause is still unknown.

Ursula McDaid, manager of The Plaza, told BBC News NI the fire "has totally gutted the building".

"I had to stand there and watch it unfold. I couldn't do anything. It was hard.

"The firefighters had it under control around 11 o'clock and we thought all would be ok. But it took off again. There was no going back then."

The original Plaza building opened in 1944. It was then rebuilt in 1958.

"Everyone knows the Plaza for its country nights, Stars in their Eyes events and school events," Ms McDaid added.

"It's destroyed inside. I worked there 11 years and I'm devastated.

"All the local people are saying they'd love to see it up and running again some day.

"That would take a lot of hard work and money but that's what people are saying."

Main Street was closed for most of Monday and diversions were in place.

The public was also advised to stay away from the scene for a time because of fears about asbestos.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption An asbestos specialist assessed the area after a roof was damaged in the fire

A Donegal County Council spokesperson said: "Main Street will reopen this evening with the exception of a portion of the footpath adjacent the scene of the fire.

"Ferris Lane, Bothar Mhuire and the adjacent back lane shall remain closed until further notice to allow for further assessment."

Four brigades from Donegal responded, along with the support of two units from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

As the fire spread, a number of local residents were moved from their homes for their safety.

The former Mayor of Buncrana, Peter McLaughlin, who was at the scene, described the fire as "ferocious".

"At one point it seemed like the fire was quelled, it just started back up again."

An investigation has begun.