The historic five-storey Primark building, which has been in the heart of Belfast’s shopping district since 1787, was ravaged by flames that burnt the entire flagship store on Tuesday morning. As smoke bellowed from the roof of the building, Primark customers and staff were brought to safety.
Mr Jennings, the area commander of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) indicated that the extreme fire caused major damage on the five floor Primark store and that the area has been cordoned off since there is a still risk that the building could collapse. Every attempt is being made to save the 331-year-old building’s façade.
The building had been undergoing renovations and fortunately the multimillion-pound extension that was being built was saved since fire fighters were able to contain he fire and prevent it from spreading. The extreme heat has made things difficult as timber, stock and rubble still burn under the collapsed structures.
The cause of the fire is not yet known and there will be an investigation to determine if there were sprinklers in the building.
Primark officials met with Belfast city councillors as well as Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Harge who said it is still too early to determine the fate of the historic building’s façade. Even though a small area will still be closed to the public, the city centre will be open for business.
Primark Chief Executive Paul Marchant, Primark’s Chief Executive was shocked and saddened by the fire and will focus on providing support to the over 300 devastated Primark employees.
This historic building has survived fires and bombs in the past but this time the flames which reached 15 metres in height engulfed the historic clock at the top of the building.