Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 16:17 UK

Second fire at city courthouse

Crumlin Road courthouse
There has been another fire at the Crumlin Road courthouse

There has been a second fire at the Crumlin Road courthouse in Belfast in two days.

Police received a report shortly after midnight that a crowd of about 30 people were throwing petrol bombs at the building from Hopewell Avenue.

When fire crews arrived at the scene they found the back of the historic building was alight.

The Crumlin Road, which was closed between Carlisle Circus and Agnes Street, has now reopened.

Kevin O'Neill from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said it had deployed the same amount of resources to the blaze as to the previous fire which began on Friday night.

"As a result of the first fire on Friday night the centre part of the roof is gone and a substantial part of the first floor," he added.

"On this occasion it is the entire left wing that has been destroyed bar for a little bit up the front from the roof level down to the first floor."

Police have said they are treating the blaze on Friday night at the courthouse as suspicious.

Ten fire appliances were used to put out a fire at the building in March of this year.

The courthouse, which was the venue for hundreds of paramilitary trials, closed in June 1998.

It was purchased by the current Policing Board chairman, Barry Gilligan, for £1 and in 2006 he announced plans to transform it into a luxury hotel.

The original architect of the Grade B listed building was Sir Charles Lanyon, who was also involved in the construction of some of Belfast's landmark buildings including City Hall, Custom House, Belfast Castle and Queen's University.

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