Arson not ruled after NI weekly newspaper blaze

A weekly newspaper in Northern Ireland insists its ‘business as usual’despite is offices being badly damaged in a blaze last week.

Fire tore through the offices of the Larne Times late last Thursday night and the paper cannot say when trhey will be reopened.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but anyone who noticed any suspicious activity near the paper’s Point Street office has been asked to contact police.

Local Alliance councillor John Mathews told UTV: ‘If it is arson and it is a malicious attack it’s absolutely shameful and won’t be doing the person that committed it any good at all. In fact it would be totally counter-productive.”

The fire resulted in extensive fire damage to part of the first floor and smoke and water damage throughout the remaining floors.

The paper, which is owned by Johnston Press, said that editorial and advertising staff had been deployed to other Times Series offices and were working to ensure that the Larne Times will be in the shops this Wednesday.

Editor Valerie Martin also insisted it would be “business as usual”. ‘The paper will out this week,’she said. ‘We have got a very dedicated team and we’re committed to bringing out the paper just as normal.

‘There’s been brilliant support from the public, people have come up and said and said they’re sorry to hear about the damage and it they can offer any support they will. It’s been very much appreciated.’

John Mathews added: ‘Our local newspapers are incredibly valuable to community life and I know that many, like myself, will be shocked by this fire. My thoughts go out to the staff at the Larne Times, whose work is invaluable to the area. I am certain that they will be stronger and better once they get up and running again.”

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