Primark’s store in Belfast’s Bank Building could be facing collapse, after a huge fire broke out on Tuesday morning.
No one was injured in the fire, which is thought to have started on the top floor or roof of the five-storey, listed building at 11am yesterday. The store was safely evacuated once the fire was discovered, and the cause is not yet known. Around 350 staff in total work at the branch,
Some floors are thought to have already given way, and the fire service told the BBC there were “grave concerns” that the entire structure could collapse.
Assistant chief fire officer Michael Graham commented that: “We certainly can’t guarantee the structural integrity of the building at this time.”
Primark CEO Paul Marchant said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the fire.
He continued: “The safety and well-being of our customers, colleagues and construction team is of course the most important consideration and we are truly relieved that all were evacuated safely. We would like to thank the emergency services for their swift response and ongoing actions.
“Our store is housed in an iconic building and much loved by the people of Belfast. We would like to reassure our customers, colleagues and the wider community in Belfast that we are committed to working with the authorities and our building contractors to establish the cause of the fire.
“We are working closely with our team in Belfast to ensure they are fully supported during this challenging period. We would like to thank everybody for their support during this difficult time.”
The building was originally constructed in 1785, and has been home to a Primark store since 1979.