One of Lisburn’s most historic buildings was gutted on Sunday night when fire swept through the Barbour Threads Mill at Hilden.
The Fire and Rescue Service were called to Hilden Mill at 6.13pm on Sunday (March 8) when four appliances and an aerial ladder, which poured water down on the building, battled the fire for three hours.
A spokesperson for the Fire and Rescue Service said early indications were that the fire had been started deliberately.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he was “appalled” that the historic building had been set on fire.
“Clearly the people responsible have no respect for the industrial heritage of the Lagan Valley,” he said.
“It is absolutely crucial that plans to develop this site for housing are pushed forward as quickly as possible.
“The plans, which respect the heritage of the site, will bring this important location back to life and there will be less chance that vandalism will occur. “There is a real need for housing in Lisburn and Hilden Mill is an excellent location for the kind of facilities that will help Lisburn to grow in the years ahead.”
Lisburn Councillor Alexander Redpath said he was saddened by the latest incident at Hilden Mill, which also suffered fire damage in 2011.
“I am very sad to see further damage to this historic building,” said Mr Redpath. “The sad reality is that unless we move quickly to develop this site the building will go to wrack and ruin. Thankfully the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service responded promptly to the call out and saved as much of the building as possible. I would like thank the Fire Service for their selfless efforts to contain this fire and prevent further danger to lives or property.
“Clanmil Housing Association has an ambitious plan to develop this site and deliver hundreds of affordable and social homes. Sadly this plan has not progressed owing to funding difficulties. The funding for this site needs to be identified or we lose a valuable opportunity to save a historic building which is currently an eye sore and a health hazard for local people.
“I would advise all local people to take precautions in regards to the Hilden Mill site. Obviously there are hazards to the site and these need to be avoided in the interests of safety. I would also urge members of the public to be vigilant in case any further incidents occur and I would ask local residents to report any incidents to the relevant authorities.”