Fire crews from three counties battled for six hours to prevent a huge blaze spreading to the historic Scarvagh House last night (Tuesday), Armagh I can exclusively reveal.
A spokesperson for the NIFRS provided details to Armagh I and confirmed that it is believed the fire was started deliberately.
Scarvagh House lies within the famous Scarva Demesne, on the border of Counties Armagh and Down, and the original house dates back almost 300 years. It was reportedly built in 1717 by Myles Reilly and has been in the hands of the Buller family for many years.
It also features a dressage yard and outbuildings close by the main stately home and Fire Service first received the call at 7.02pm last night.
Two fire appliances from Banbridge, two from Newry and one from Portadown were tasked to the scene. Crews also attended from Armagh and Lurgan. In addition, a water tanker was deployed from Warrenpoint and a Command Support Unit from Lisburn.
Fire Service confirmed to us that crews dealt with a large quantity of timber which was alight and this had spread to an adjacent detached building.
The fire then spread further from the ground floor to a first floor flat.
It was not until 1.05am this morning (Wednesday), that it was reported by NIFRS as having been brought under control.
The centre of the operation is understood to have been within close proximity to the main Scarvagh House.
It is in front of Scarvagh House that the main platform proceedings are held each year for the 13th of July demonstration organised by the Royal Black Institution.
Within the demesne, which is listed on the DoE ‘Register of Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest’, the Sham Fight is held annually, which draws tens of thousands from all over for the big day.
As the bands and Sir Knights of the Royal Black Preceptories parade through Scarva Demesne, they do so past a chestnut tree, which is where King William III is recorded as having pitched his tent and tethered his horse in June 1690, en route to the Battle of the Boyne.
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