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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 February, 2004, 18:54 GMT
Fire at former courthouse
Crumlin Road courthouse
Crumlin Road courthouse is a listed building
A fire has broken out at the former Crumlin Road courthouse in north Belfast.

The Fire Brigade was called to the scene on Sunday evening.

The police described the incident as "a large blaze".

Nine appliances attended the fire.

The Crumlin Road was closed from Carlisle Circus to the Old Park Road junction.

The former courts building was the scene of some of the most infamous trials during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

It has recently been used for a number of cultural events, including a play.

Work started last September to turn the disused courthouse and prison complex into a major tourist attraction.

Heavy security fencing was removed at the courthouse and jail as part of a 10m project aimed at developing a tourist attraction to rival San Francisco's island prison, Alcatraz.

The plans involve returning the listed building to its original appearance, when it opened in 1850.

The jail and courthouse are connected to one another via an underground tunnel, built to securely transfer some of Northern Ireland's most notorious prisoners across and prevent escape attempts.

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