Historic Cork building partially destroyed in fire

There are fears that the fire at the former Our Lady's Hospital site could have been started deliberately

It is feared a fire which has partially destroyed one of Cork's most historic buildings may have been started deliberately.

Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after 8pm last night.

It is reported that a group of youths were seen running from the former Our Lady's Hospital.

Seven units of the fire brigade have managed to extinguish the blaze.

However, at least two-thirds of the roof has been lost.

Ralph Riegel, Southern Correspondent with the Irish Independent, has been following developments.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he explained: "The actual cause has not been confirmed - but it is beginning to look suspicious. There were a number of teenagers reported to be in the vicinity of St Anne's.

"Until Gardaí and the fire brigade get access to the building itself, and confirm through forensics what caused it... they don't know."

Ralph said that the building was derelict and unoccupied, and had been subject to a number of vandal attacks in recent years.

He added: "While the fire has been extinguished, the damping down operations are expected to continue for some time."