Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 11:10 UK

Fire at factory site 'suspicious'

Fire scene
Ten fire crews battled the blaze

A fire at a derelict factory in east Belfast is being treated as suspicious, the police have said.

About 60 people were moved from their homes on Monday after the blaze at the WJ Nelson premises in Grove Street. They have now been allowed to return.

The Fire Service's Chris Kerr said it was a major incident and that they could not rule out "deliberate ignition at this stage."

Residents reported thick black smoke rising from the site at about 2215 BST.

The building is not yet safe enough for an investigation into the cause of the blaze to begin.

Ten crews were called in to contain the flames.

Local resident Maureen Johnstone had to leave her home becuase of the fire.

"When the fire crews from Knock fire station were on their way to the incident they could see large volumes of thick black smoke and flames leaping hundreds of feet into the air," said Mr Kerr.

It was the second large fire in Belfast in 12 hours.

On Monday, two schools in west Belfast were evacuated following a fire at the site of the former Bass Ireland brewery on the Glen Road.



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