Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Saturday, 6 December 2008

Machinery destroyed in plant fire

Burnt tractor
More than 30 tractors were destroyed in the blaze

More than 30 tractors and other vehicles worth about 500,000 have been destroyed in a fire at an agricultural machinery company in Comber.

Fire crews were called to the scene on Ballygowan Road at 2300 GMT on Friday.

A fire service spokesman said the blaze may have been started deliberately. The plant owner, Eric Johnson, said the scene was very upsetting.

"I haven been in the yard myself I'm not even allowed to go in the yard the police won't allow me," he said.

Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson said he had not yet been allowed into the yard

"But I imagine looking outside the fence there's half a million gone anyway - no buildings gone, just plant and tractors and machines."

Fire crews were able to stop the blaze spreading to other buildings, including the owners' house. Tyres and machines were still smouldering on Saturday.

Neil McGrath from the fire service said one of the owners noticed the fire when they looked out the window.

"The owners are very distraught about what happened," he said.

"They were in bed last night and at half ten one of them got up, for whatever reason, and basically when they were pottering around, happened to look out the window and found that their property was on fire."

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific