Cork fire: Douglas shopping centre facing closure for weeks

Management confirm part of car park to be demolished following major blaze

The aftermath of a large fire in the multi-storey parking facility of the Douglas Village Shopping Centre in Cork. Photograph: Cork City Fire Brigade/PA Wire

The aftermath of a large fire in the multi-storey parking facility of the Douglas Village Shopping Centre in Cork. Photograph: Cork City Fire Brigade/PA Wire

 

Douglas Village Shopping Centre in Cork is facing weeks if not months of closure after management at the shopping centre confirmed to business owners last night that at least part of the centre’s multi-storey car park is facing demolition following a fire.

In a letter sent to the 50 or so business owners in the shopping centre, management explained that the fire on the first level of the centre’s multi-storey car park was so intense that it caused serious damage to the structure of the building.

“Due to the intense nature of the fire, the structural area of the affected area has been compromised and needs to be demolished for safety reasons as soon as possible,” said management at the shopping centre.

“Our team of consultants have instructed us that access to the centre will not be safe until demolition is complete. We are proceeding with the demolition phase as fast as possible and hope to start the process next week.

“We do not know yet the full scope and hence duration of the demolition phase and we hope to have much further information as demolition progresses. Demolition must take place before we can estimate when the centre re-open.”

Acting Cork city fire officer David Spillett said that fire fighters estimated that the blaze must have reached temperatures of between 600 and 1,000 degrees for the steel girders to buckle while it also damaged some 60 cars parked on Level 1.

About 130 cars which were undamaged in the shopping centre on Level 1 and Level 2 but car owners were unable to access them because the building is unsafe and experts advised against trying to drive them out because the ramps are compromised.

Now management at the shopping centre have confirmed that they will commence removing the cars from Level 1 and Level 2 on Wednesday though they said it may take up to seven days to remove all the vehicles.

It is expected that management will bring in experts using cranes to lift the cars from the two floors of the car park which will then allow demolition experts to begin the task of demolishing at least part of the 1,000 space car park which was completed in 2010.

Several traders in the shopping centre have spoken about the impact that the fire is having on their businesses following their sudden evacuation from the centre when fire broke out in the car park at around 6.45pm on Saturday

Butcher Patrick Bresnan, whose family have been butchering in Douglas for around 130 years and trading in Douglas Village Shopping Centre for over 40 years, said he didn’t expect to be back in the centre for at least a number of weeks.

“I would say there will be no access for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Jeweller John Neville said he would re-deploy the five staff working in the Douglas shop to his other three shops in Cork city.“The hope is that we will all get back on our feet again,” he said.