An arson attack which destroyed a new gym based at Moy GAA Club overnight, has been branded “mindless”.
The premises, owned by local personal trainer Connell Donnelly, have only been opened around five weeks, it is understood.
Fire crews and police attended the scene of the fire last night from around 11pm.
Detectives are treating the incident, on the Benburb Road, as arson, and have appealed for anyone with information to get in contact with them at Cookstown Police Station on 101.
Mr Donnelly, in a message posted online this morning, said the incident was “an attack on the whole community”.
“It is with deep regret and sadness that I should announce that our newly open gym in Moy village was attacked and destroyed in what appears to be a sectarian arson attack last night”, the young businessman continued.
“We are still unsure what happened and why it happened but it’s not just an attack on me it’s an attack on the whole community.
“Thanks to everyone who helped last night and thanks for all your kind messages of support, unfortunately there are people who still do things like this, but all they have done is took a small community and made it even stronger.”
Local SDLP councillor, Denise Mullen, attended the scene of the fire last night and spoke with Mr Donnelly, who, she said, was “devastated”.
Cllr Mullen condemned the attack as “mindless”, adding: “This state of the art gym has only been opened about five weeks and the place is just completely destroyed. For anyone to do this to a young man starting out in a business and working hard, day and night, to get the business up and running, just beggars belief.”
Dungannon Independent councillor, Barry Monteith, described the incident as “an attack on the men, women and children of Moy”.
“The club has been working hard to enhance their services and build themselves back up again after the previous attack around six months ago, and then to be hit again by something like this. No doubt they will bounce back again and they will have the full support of the community.”
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said: “Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) received a call at 10:51pm to a report of a fire at premises at the Benburb Road, Moy area of Dungannon last night (Sunday 3rd April).
“Two Fire Appliances from Dungannon Fire Station and one Fire Appliance from Armagh Fire Station were deployed to the scene of a fire at a gymnasium in the area. Firefighters using thermal imaging cameras and a hosereel jet dealt with the fire. The building was heavily smoke logged as a result of the fire.
“Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service finished at the scene at 00:20am and the fire is being treated as deliberate. The incident has been passed through to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”