Reported in the News Letter on April 4, 1936: Two shops and two houses destroyed in Bessbrook blaze

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A fire in a grocery store at West End, Bessbrook, yesterday afternoon spread to adjoining premises and destroyed another shop and two houses in the same block. The damage is estimated at £3,000.

The fire began in the upper portion of the grocery premises, which belonged to Mr Thomas Bell. The local police hurried to the place, and buckets of water were used in an effort to quench the fire. This was unsuccessful, and fire extinguishers brought from the police barrack also failed. The services of the Newry Fire Brigade were then requisitioned, and those of the Bessbrook Spinning Company’s private brigade and plant.

The flames spread very rapidly, and soon the block of property was on fire almost from end to end. Lines of hose were laid from the millpond, and after some time the work of the fire fighters began to tell.

The Roman Catholic chapel was threatened by the fire at one time, but the strenuous efforts of the brigades averted this danger.

When the fire was at last extinguished the whole block was gutted, except for one house – its furniture was badly damaged by water.

The cause of the outbreak is unknown.