Belfast Telegraph

Report to say that Primark inferno started accidentally

The blaze in August last year
The blaze in August last year

By David O'Dornan

An announcement on the report into the devastating fire at Belfast city centre's Primark store is believed to be due within days.

A well-placed source said the findings of the investigation are expected to conclude that the blaze was not suspicious nor started deliberately.

The NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) will make an announcement about the inferno which ravaged the historic Bank Buildings, but it is not known whether the full report will be made public.

It is understood that Primark will also issue a statement to note the NIFRS findings and to thank various agencies and people.

The source added: "The focus for the business will then be a case of working with all the different stakeholders in Belfast, the other businesses, City Hall and everyone, in getting the Primark store back up and trading and driving footfall back into the city centre."

Last August's huge blaze gutted the landmark building and it took firefighters three-and-a-half days to extinguish it, with the charred sandstone facade all that was remaining.

NIFRS would not comment on the expected announcement, but a senior source said that he believed the findings will show nothing suspicious and that the fire was started accidentally.

They said: "There would have been an initial fire report - which is essentially the bare bones of the incident written by the officer attending - and had there been anything thought to be suspicious then there would have been a joint investigation, a memorandum of understanding, between the Fire Service and the police.

"The minute we see something suspicious we hand it to the police. That wasn't the case so I think that establishes that it was not suspicious."

The PSNI confirmed last night that there was "no police investigation. NIFRS is investigating the cause of the fire".

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