On Tuesday 28th August, Ireland woke to a retail fire in Belfast’s city centre.
The retail fire occurred at a Primark flagship store, which was housed at a 233-year-old historical building. The building, previously a bank, had an iconic clock situated at the top of the sandstone front which had sadly fallen off and the roof, partially collapsed due to the blaze.
Built in 1785, the building is now completed gutted and blackened by the smoke. Authorities had deep concerns as to the stability of the building and fear it may completely collapse. Therefore a 148ft cordon has been put into place the by police to ensure people are safe from the potential collapse.
Police reported to BBC news concerns about the building being at:
“Risk of imminent collapse”.
The retail fire was so severe eight fire engines, an aerial appliance and just under 100 firefighters were called in at 11 am to tackle the inferno at the Belfast store.
No casualties were reported as a result of the blaze, however, the retail premises had also recently undergone some extensive refurbishment works. The refurbishment had an estimated cost of £30m, which included an extension. It is understood that there were over 350 staff members working for the Primark store. However, employees are due to be paid their wages for at least a week, following the fire.
Although the origin of the blaze began in the roof, the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Have you recently had refurbishments done to your retail premises? If so, your Fire Risk Assessment will need updating. Could you risk having to pay your staff for the week after a fire hits your premises?