Belfast Telegraph

Jobs fear after shopping site blaze

Jobs are at risk after three stores were badly damaged in a west Belfast blaze.

Poundstretcher, Birthdays and JD Sports were worst hit while nine other outlets were affected by smoke and water.

Fire appliances and 85 firemen struggled for several hours to bring the fire at Boucher retail park under control.

Fire service and police investigators were still establishing the cause of the blaze.

South Belfast MLA Jimmy Spratt hoped staff could be relocated until the stores were re-opened.

"In the run-up to Christmas, shops are looking forward to one of their busiest times of the year, and particularly during these difficult economic times this only adds to the problems which are being faced by many retailers currently," he said.

"Tribute must be paid to the dozens of firefighters who tackled this blaze and it is only because of their efforts that the damage sustained was not even more severe."

SDLP South Belfast MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell said the business community on Boucher Crescent was devastated

"This was a wanton act of destruction that has devastated businesses and workers in Boucher Retail Park," he said.

"These retailers contribute so much to the economy of our city, having created jobs for hundreds of people and drawn companies from far and wide to invest in Belfast by projecting it as a good place to do business."

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