Two tied up and beaten in McCoys Bar arson attack
There was widespread anger today after it emerged that McCoys bar has been completely destroyed in an arson attack in the early hours of the morning (Monday 1st October).
Two men in the bar at the time were believed to be badly beaten after four men entered the pub just after midnight. The two men were beaten and tied up before being left in the back yard of the Kilmorey Street pub. The four men then set the premises alight.
According to local sources, the four men had earlier been involved in an incident in the pub and smashed the bar’s TV’s with pool cues and smashed windows before they were put out of the premises.
The two trapped men were rescued after a prompt response by the Northern Ireland First and Rescue Service, with 60 fire officers and a dozen fire engines attending the scene.
Randy McComb, Group Commander of the Fire and Rescue Service for Newry, said a crew went round the back and using a short extension ladder they rescued two casualties from the rear of the premises which was heavily smoke-logged.
McComb stated, “When the first crews arrived on the scene they attempted to gain access to the front of the building. Then they heard shouts coming from the rear of the premises.”
The injured duo were treated at the scene before being taken to Daisy Hill Hospital.
McComb described the fire as ‘intense’ and said his team had tried to save the whole building from total destruction.
“The crews worked valiantly throughout the night. Their main objective was to prevent it spreading to adjoining premises. Unfortunately, the fire was so intense, and spread so rapidly, that it was difficult to save the building.”
Ulster Unionist Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy said it was a ‘mercy’ that the fire brigade arrived promptly and rescued the two members of staff or we could have been facing a tragedy this morning.
“I would like to commend the bravery and swift response of the emergency services and would appeal to anyone who can assist in catching the gang responsible. Clearly these are very dangerous individuals who must be caught.”
SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley MLA condemned those responsible for what he described as a ‘barbaric arson attack’ and said the consequences of their actions do not bear thinking of.
Bradley, who visited the scene early on Monday morning said: “This is a terrible scene and an appalling act and I would appeal for anyone who knows anything about this incident or what led to it to come forward to police as a matter of urgency.
“While details are still emerging about last night, we already know that two people were tied up and by all accounts are extremely lucky to be alive this morning thanks to the swift actions of the Fire and Rescue Service.”
He added, “I hope that the victims in this case who must have feared for their lives make a speedy recovery.
“Those who carried out this barbaric crime must be caught – they could have killed those they tied up. The consequences of their actions do not bear thinking about. I visited the scene this morning and met many local people who were shocked and appalled at the incident.
“I would appeal for anyone who knows anything about this incident to come forward so those responsible can be caught and taken off our streets.”
Detectives in Newry investigating the blaze are appealing for information.
Speaking to Newry Times, a spokesman for Newry PSNI said,
“Around 12:35am Police received a report that licensed premises in Kilmorey Street had been set alight. Officers from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service rescued two members of staff from the premises and they were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and shock.”
“Reports suggest that approximately four males entered the premises after midnight, tied up the two members of staff in a rear yard, and set the premises ablaze.”
The spokesman continued, “Kilmorey Street will remain closed to traffic for a period of time this morning. Drivers of HGVs and motorists travelling to Warrenpoint harbour are advised to avoid the area and seek an alternative route via Mayobridge, Hilltown or Rosstrevor.”
“Police are appealing for anyone who was in the bar during the evening to contact them. Anyone who witnessed the incident, who noticed anything suspicious in the area around midnight last evening or who has any information is asked to contact detectives at Newry on 0845 600 8000.”
“Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
More to follow.
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