1. ITV Report

Cause of Primark fire confirmed to be accidental

Belfast's historic Bank Buildings was extensively damaged in a fire last August. Credit: UTV

The Fire Service has completed its investigation into the cause of the Primark fire and confirmed it was accidental.

The blaze broke out at the historic Bank Buildings in Belfast last August.

In a statement on Thursday, the Fire Service said it had carried out a “complex, detailed and protracted” investigation.

It confirmed the cause was accidental, but said it could not be “more specific about the actual cause” at this stage.

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The statement explained: “In conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, we have completed our extensive investigation to determine the cause of the fire at Bank Buildings Belfast on 28 August 2018.

“We can now confirm that the cause of the fire was accidental.

“The HSENI has received our Fire Investigation Report. As this forms part of their wider investigation, it is not appropriate for NIFRS to be more specific about the actual cause of the accidental fire while this investigation is ongoing."

HSENI has received the NIFRS investigation report and this will be considered as part of ongoing enquiries. HSENI is unable to comment any further at this time.

– Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

The Fire Service statement continued: “Given the extensive damage caused by the fire, the fire investigation process was complex, detailed and protracted.

“We would like to thank our Fire Investigation Team in Eastern Area Command for their diligence and tireless work in this investigation.

“We would also like to thank our partner agencies for their cooperation and assistance.”

The Primark fire had a major impact on businesses in the immediate vicinity and the wider city centre.

A cordon had to be put in place to ensure public safety, but that led to a serious downturn in footfall.

Smaller businesses were particularly hard hit and some have ended up having to close their doors.

Primark was able to open a new store in the city centre three months after its flagship premises were destroyed.