Northern Ireland

Fire at 'Ireland's oldest linen mill' William Clark and Sons

William Clark and Sons, based at Upperlands, outside Maghera, traces its history back to 1736
Image caption William Clark and Sons, based at Upperlands, outside Maghera, traces its history back to 1736

Thirty firefighters have tackled a major fire at a textile plant in County Londonderry which describes itself as one of the world's oldest companies.

William Clark and Sons, based at Upperlands, outside Maghera, traces its history back to 1736.

Its website states the firm is home to "Ireland's oldest linen fabric mill".

While a 150-year old building in the complex was destroyed, management said the fire was confined to that building and the business is still intact.

Image caption One part of the complex was destroyed but firefighters stopped the fire spreading to other buildings

The fire was spotted by a dog walker.

'Quite fortunate'

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokeswoman said they deployed three pumping appliances and three specialist appliances to the scene.

Firefighters pumped water from the linen processor's nearby dams to fight the flames.

Thirty-five people work at the plant.

Image caption Manager Kevin Devlin and director Robert Clark said the business was still intact

The firm's managing director, Kevin Devlin, told BBC Newsline: "The building itself seems to be pretty extensively damaged and there is some machinery kept in there and some raw materials.

"But, it's been isolated to that particular unit, so I think we've been quite fortunate in that aspect."

Company director Robert Clark said: "It will affect one process but hopefully we'll be back to normal very soon."