Fire breaks out at multi-storey car park in Douglas shopping centre

Centre evacuated, as several units of Cork City Fire Brigade attend scene of blaze

Plumes of smoke coming from the Village Shopping Centre in Douglas, Co Cork. Photograph: Olivia Kelleher

Plumes of smoke coming from the Village Shopping Centre in Douglas, Co Cork. Photograph: Olivia Kelleher

 

Gardaí are expected to carry out a technical examination on Sunday into the cause of a fire in a multi-storey car park in Cork, which led to the evacuation of the Village Shopping Centre and caused ten of thousands of euros worth of damage to more than 60 cars.

The blaze broke out at a multi-storey car park in Douglas in Cork at around 6.45pm, when a car on the first level of the five-storey building caught fire; the blaze quickly spread to a number of adjacent cars .

Several units of Cork City Fire Brigade responded but their efforts to bring the blaze under control were hampered by the fact that fire appliances could not enter the building which has restricted height access.

Cork City Fire Brigade on Twitter said officers were working in heavy smoke and fire conditions to contain the blaze, and asked that members of the public avoid the area to allow crews to access the scene.

Twelve fire appliances were at the scene, including eight units from Cork City Fire Brigade, and four from Cork County Fire Brigade.

According to a garda spokesman, Douglas Shopping Centre, including a large Tesco store which is attached to the multi-storey car park, was evacuated. There are no reports of any injuries.

However a preliminary assessment suggested that around 60 cars were damaged in the blaze with up to 30 vehicles completely damaged. Engineers are expected to assess the car-park building on Sunday to establish if it suffered any structural damage.

Plumes of smoke coming from the Village Shopping Centre in Douglas, Co Cork. Photograph: Olivia Kelleher
Plumes of smoke coming from the Village Shopping Centre in Douglas, Co Cork. Photograph: Olivia Kelleher

Irish Times journalist Olivia Kelleher was in the Village Shopping Centre when the fire broke out: “We were asked to evacuate. Everyone was moving very calmly.”

Ms Kelleher said she could hear what sounded like explosions coming from the car park.

One garda source said: “There’s great credit due to the Fire Service – they got out there quickly and in very difficult conditions battled long and hard to stop the fire spreading and to bring it under control – only for their prompt response, the situation could have been far worse.”

The fire, which saw a huge cloud of black smoke rise up over Douglas village, led to the closure of several roads around the village and serious traffic congestion, with gardaí advising motorists to avoid the area if at all possible.

A garda source said that gardaí hope to be given the go-ahead by Cork City Fire Brigade to enter the building on Sunday to try and establish the cause.