Primark fire will live with me for ever, says officer one year on
The fire officer in charge on the day of the Primark blaze has told how he can "vividly" recall the image of the Bank Buildings clock burning - a year on from the inferno.
Fire service area commander Aidan Jennings was reflecting on events ahead of the first anniversary of the fire on August 28 at Primark's landmark Castle Street building.
It resulted in a four-day operation to extinguish the blaze, with more than 300 firefighters involved. Nobody was injured during the incident.
Work is ongoing to rebuild the historic Bank Buildings.
A number of businesses in the vicinity of the store were forced to close their doors as a result of the devastating fire and part of Belfast city centre was sealed off for months.
The cause of the fire has yet to be revealed, with a Health and Safety Executive investigation still ongoing.
Earlier this year, the fire service confirmed the blaze was an accident.
Mr Jennings, who was the officer in charge on the day of the fire, said the effort to save the historic building would remain with him for ever.
"I will remember this incident for the expertise, resilience and dedication of firefighters and staff right across the fire service, as well as the outpouring of kindness, generosity and public-spiritedness," he said.
"As ever, the resilience of the people of Belfast was matched by the action and support they offered."
Mr Jennings also praised those who did important work behind the scenes.
"I can vividly recall that iconic image of the clock in Bank Buildings burning and the impact that had on our personnel working so hard to save the building," he said.
"On a number of occasions that day, firefighters had to be withdrawn from firefighting operations within the building to prevent injury or loss of life due to escalating fire conditions and the collapsing structure."