Northern Ireland

Nightclub evacuated after fire breaks out

More than 500 teenagers had to leave a nightclub in Cookstown, County Tyrone after a fire broke out in two buildings on Saturday night.

The alarm was raised at about 2200 BST at the Clubland nightclub.

Six fire appliances were used to bring under control the blaze, which had spread to an oil tank.

Station Commander Paul McCloskey said early indications are that the fire was started deliberately.

He said it was "quite dynamic because a lot of things happened quickly for a while".

"There were 500 kids in the disco, there were two buildings on fire and we subsequently found out afterwards that between two buildings there was another alleyway and in that there was bins and there was a heating oil tank which was involved in the fire as well," he said.

"The Clubland staff and the police managed to evacuate the club quickly and safely."

Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness said he was relieved that no-one was injured.

"Make no mistake about it, had it not been for the prompt action of the emergency services and those people in the nightclub, we could have been dealing with a major incident," he said.

"Like most people, I wonder at the mentality or motivation of someone setting a fire beside a club containing over 500 young people."