A fire at Greenhill YMCA has destroyed a building causing around 100 young residents to be evacuated. It happened around 7pm on Saturday evening, just hours after a celebration of the rural development funding to build another modern premises at the Greenhill YMCA site was announced.
A spokesperson for YMCA Greenhill said: AA fire occurred in a non accommodation log cabin at YMCA Greenhill early on Saturday evening.
“There were more than 100 young people staying on site and were immediately evacuated to the fire assembly point. No-one was injured during the fire and our emergency fire procedures we implemented immediately. NIFRS and the PSNI attended and are continuing to investigate the circumstances.
“I want to pay tribute to our staff and volunteers who acted swiftly to ensure everyone remained safe and to the emergency services who responded very quickly. All activities resumed immediately on site after the NIFRS departed and we remain fully operational. YMCA Greenhill also want to put on record our thanks to the youth groups who were on site for their cooperation during the incident.
“At this moment there is no reason to suspect an arson. We are keeping an open mind about it. The building that was gutted, which will have to be demolished, is a log cabin and was built with help from volunteers. It was used as a quiet space
Hazzard praises rescuers after Newcastle YMCA fire.
Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard has praised the efforts of those who rescued teenagers after a fire broke out in one of the units at Greenhill YMCA in Newcastle.
The South Down MP said: “This fire at the YMCA at Newcastle has shocked the local community as around 100 teenagers were on site at the time.
“Thankfully no one was injured in this incident, but it must have been a frightening experience for all involved.
“The quick actions of the YMCA leaders who rescued these young people have undoubtedly prevented a tragedy.
“I visited the facility recently and saw at first hand the excellent leadership displayed by staff and volunteers and I have no doubt the local community will be in full support of the efforts to rebuild this YMCA centre in their time of need.
“An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire and should be allowed to proceed.”
Police Appeal Now Ongoing.
In a statement released mid-day on Sunday, police Sergeant McIlveen said: “Police are appealing for information following the report of this fire at the outdoor recreation and residential centre in the Donard Park area of Newcastle yesterday evening, Saturday 22 February.
“The fire, reported just before 7pm, was at a log cabin, used as a shelter or relaxation-type area.
“Officers attended the fire, along with colleagues from Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service. Unfortunately the cabin has been completely destroyed by the fire, which is believed to have been started deliberately.
“Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries and no damage to the nearby main property.
“We are appealing to anyone with information to contact us on 101, quoting reference number 1541 of 22/02/20.”
Information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.