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Picture taken by a shopper of the car on fire at the Douglas Shopping Centre.
Picture taken by a shopper of the car on fire at the Douglas Shopping Centre.

'It was like a bomb going off': woman speaks of Douglas fire

A woman who was on the first storey of Douglas Village Shopping Centre's car park when a car caught fire has said it was like a "nightmare."

The multi-storey car park went ablaze on Saturday evening after a car went on fire on the first floor of the car park. The blaze then spread to other vehicles.

Liz Blackshields, who lives in Douglas, said that her car was parked on the first floor when the blaze broke out. She had just returned from doing her shopping.

"I was there on the first floor when it happened. I was putting my trolley back into the trolley bay."

"It was like a bomb going off, an explosion. A car went on fire, then the one next to it caught fire and it also exploded."

"Cars were burning, it was so scary," Liz told The Echo.

"A woman staff member started screaming at me to get out. There were flames, and thick black smoke. It was an absolute nightmare."

Liz's car was parked on the first floor where the fire occurred, right at the edge of where the cars caught fire.

"I don't know if my car is destroyed. I rang my insurance company on Saturday and they said they were aware of the situation. They said they wouldn't be able to help me."

Picture taken by a shopper of the car on fire at the Douglas Shopping Centre.
Picture taken by a shopper of the car on fire at the Douglas Shopping Centre.

Liz rang the insurance company again on Sunday and asked for a courtesy car. "They said they could not help me because there were too many insurance companies involved."

"There's 200 odd people without cars. I am just stuck in limbo."

Liz rang the hotline that was set up to provide information to people affected by the fire.

"I rang it at least five times yesterday, but I just got a dial tone. A man eventually picked up and he was very nice, he took all my details but he didn't really know what the situation was either."

"We don't know where we stand. How are we going to get our cars back?"

Liz also wonders who is going to pay to replace the cars which are completely damaged. "I rang my insurance company, and explained to them I wasn't claiming… but we have no answers."

It is believed that 60 cars were damaged in the fire, with 50 completely burnt out.

There are also roughly 170 cars still in the multi-storey car park, with uncertainty surrounding when they can be returned to their owners.