STORM FORCE

DEVASTATING WINDS...The scene at Eglinton Street/Main Street in Portrush yesterday when the roof blew off a building in gale force winds. CR21 226PL PICTURE BY PAUL NASH
DEVASTATING WINDS...The scene at Eglinton Street/Main Street in Portrush yesterday when the roof blew off a building in gale force winds. CR21 226PL PICTURE BY PAUL NASH

PORTRUSH town centre was closed to traffic and shops and business premises evacuated yesterday (Monday) after the roof of an apartment block was blown off by gale force winds.

The roof of the premises at the junction of Main Street and Eglinton Street was blown off in high winds around midday.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were called out to the scene to evacuate the surrounding area as lumps of debris were blowing around the nearby streets.

Portrush woman Mary Lagan was in a Ground Cafe on Main Street when the incident took place.

“We had just gone into Ground around 12.05pm when the Fire Brigade came in behind us and said they were evacuating the town,” she told the Times.

“They weren’t able to get the shutters down on the business premises so had to evacuate everyone. We were trying to get back to Causeway Street and because we couldn’t walk past the building where the roof had come off, we had to go up a back lane and make our way round.

“It was absolutely shocking.”

Uel Irvine, who was in the apartment building at the time, said: “I just saw all this polysterene falling and wondered where it was coming from.

“I looked up to the roof and could see right through it.

“There was just no roof there.

“It was just lying in the front garden.”

Later that day around 2pm, scaffolding at a building on Portrush’s Bath Street collapsed and fell on to a parked car.

It was initally believed that there were casualties involved but police confirmed that this was not the case and no-one had been hurt.

Meanwhile in Coleraine, traffic was disrupted when a tree was blown down and fell across the Lodge Road.