The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) are continuing to deal with a fire at Lissue House in Lisburn. A Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Currently there are 8 Fire Appliances, as well as a Command Support Unit vehicle from Lisburn Fire Station, a high volume pumping appliance from Whitla Fire Station and a Water Tanker from Warrenpoint Fire Station deployed to the scene.

“The VEMA Fire Appliance from Springfield Fire Station as well as the Fire Emergency Support Service vehicle are also providing assistance.

“Firefighters continue to deal with a well-developed fire on 2 floors of a large detached building in the area. No one was inside the premises during the fire.

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and seek alternative main routes, as Firefighters remain at the scene.

“There are no further details at this stage.”

Lissue House is a former children’s hospital.

It is now operating as the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) – an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, which was established by Statute (The Livestock Marketing Commission Act [Northern Ireland] 1967) to assist the development of the livestock and livestock products industries. The LMC’s sponsor body is the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

LMC collects statutory levies from beef and sheep producers and slaughterers in Northern Ireland and in return provides a range of services to the industry. LMC also advises DAERA on matters relating to the sector.

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “While I am concerned about the fire at the headquarters of the LMC at Lissue House, I am relieved to know that all staff are safe and that no one was hurt. I am being kept up-to-date regularly with developments. I understand that LMC is currently implementing its own business continuity plans. My officials are working with the commission to offer temporary accommodation and what assistance they can.”

A statement issued on behalf of Ian Stevenson, Chief Executive of the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland, said: “We are saddened by the damage caused to our office premises at Lissue House and are grateful that no one was injured. We have a business continuity plan in place and will continue with our work as far as possible.