Investigation underway after Hoey’s Mace blaze

Specialist fire officers are investigating the cause of a large fire in the Stewartstown Road area of Belfast.

The blaze at Hoey’s Mace and Solo forecourt saw local residents evacuated in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A total of seven fire appliances and an aerial appliance were tasked to the scene, along with a command support vehicle.

Fire crews successfully contained the fire to the popular service station, stopping it from spreading to adjacent premises and on-site hazardous materials.

A Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokesperson said: “NIFRS has dealt with a large fire at a commercial Service Station on the Stewartstown Road, Belfast, in the early hours of this morning.

“One fire appliance remains at the scene to dampen down any hot spots. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Fire Investigation Officers will attend the scene following conclusion of the incident.

“The Fire Emergency Support Service also attended to provide assistance to local residents impacted by the incident.”

The site is part of the Hoey’s Mace award-winning network of forecourts, which includes a site in Andersonstown, and the Ormeau Road.

Writing on his Facebook page on Wednesday morning, local Sinn Fein councillor and witness to the incident, Stephen Magennis, said: “That’s residents back into their homes and vicinity of the fire secure and safe on a very cold night. Fire brigade and police still there as they will investigate what happened.”

Mr Magennis also posted video footage of the incident.

He added: “Also spare a thought for the business’s that have been damaged and the owners and staff who I spoke to at the scene. Stewartstown Road still cordoned off. I have contacted Fold House to come out urgently and inspect homes backing onto the fire.”

Later, Mr Magennis told the BBC: “I have to say the police and the fire brigade put on a fairly professional operation, getting people out safe, getting them into places and also securing the area. People were fairly in shock, very worried and fearful.”