Ancestral home of Chester Alan Arthur damaged in fire

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Arthur Cottage
Image caption,
Arthur Cottage was extensively damaged as a result of the fire

A tourist attraction in north Antrim has been badly damaged in a fire.

Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey was the ancestral home of Chester Alan Arthur, the 21st President of the United States. Arthur, a Republican, served as US President from 1881 to 1885.

The cottage's thatched roof and a number of its contents were destroyed in the blaze on Friday evening.

Fire service station commander Adrian Armour said the cause of the fire had not been determined.

"The police and their crime scene investigators and our own fire investigation officers will be attending to try and determine the cause," he said.

DUP assembly member Paul Frew said Arthur Cottage was the "jewel in the crown" of Ballymena's tourism industry.

"The cottage itself has been damaged, the interpretive centre is still intact," he said.

"We don't know yet what started the fire or whether it was malicious.

"Any damage that has been incurred is a blow to Ballymena and a blow to the tourist industry in Ballymena."