Gas line may have been cut as probe into arson attack continues

Area around Moyraverty Centre is sealed off
Area around Moyraverty Centre is sealed off

The PSNI is investigating an arson attack and suspected gas leak at a community centre in Craigavon.

The fire, at a gas meter box in Moyraverty Centre, was out by the time the NI Fire and Rescue Service attended this morning.

However a spokesperson for the NIFRS said the fire was deemed 'a deliberate ignition'.

The building, which is home to a youth organisation, is close to St Brendan's Primary School, shops and a residential area.

The NIFRS spokesperson said they received a call at 8.45am this morning and three appliances and crews from Lurgan and Portadown were tasked with two fire officers.

He said the fire was out on arrival. "It was deemed to be a deliberate ignition'.

The spokesperson said a gas reading was taken and a gas engineer was tasked to the scene.

"The incident has been handed over to the police," he said.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police received the report of criminal damage at the Moyraverty West Road area of Craigavon this morning, Friday 24 May."

Sergeant McConville said: “We received the report of a gas leak at around 9.15am this morning.

“Police attended the scene, along with colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS). It is believed that a gas line may have been cut.

“The area has been cordoned off and NIFRS are still in attendance.

“Our enquiries are continuing. We are appealing to anyone with information, or who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area, to contact us on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 482 of 24/05/19.”

Alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

Local SDLP Cllr Thomas Larkham said he has been told the fire appeared to be 'malicious'.

"We could have been waking up to a huge explosion. It is just crazy," said the newly-elected councillor.

He said he understood police have spoken to the school about the situation but no one has been evacuated.

He voiced serious concern at the incident adding: "It is not on."