New pictures from the Douglas fire as uncertainty remains over the reopening of the centre

New pictures from the Douglas fire as uncertainty remains over the reopening of the centre
Picture taken by a shopper of the car on fire at the Douglas Shopping Centre.

Uncertainty remains over the possible reopening of the Douglas Village Shopping Centre as well as the return of around 170 cars to their owners following a blaze on Saturday evening.

A fire broke out at the shopping centre at around 6.45pm on Saturday after a car caught fire on the first floor of the car park.

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.

The centre was evacuated and has been closed since with no timeline yet as to a possible reopening.

Around 60 cars are thought to be damaged with 50 completely burnt out.

An assessment of the structure and a meeting is to take place this morning to determine the next step.

Picture taken by a shopper of cars departing the Douglas Shopping Centre just minutes before the floor was engulfed in flames. The car on fire can be seen in the rearview mirror.
Picture taken by a shopper of cars departing the Douglas Shopping Centre just minutes before the floor was engulfed in flames. The car on fire can be seen in the rearview mirror.

Speaking to The Echo, Bartosz Mieszala, manager of Douglas Village Shopping Centre, admitted he is not sure when the centre might be able to reopen.

“It’s too early to even estimate it,” he added.

“We had structural engineers and other experts in today (Sunday) and we’ve been told that no one is allowed access because the structure seems to be compromised,” Mr Mieszala explained.

“They’re revisiting the site tomorrow (Monday) after the steel has cooled down a little bit and we hope to know more then.

“Nothing has been done or decided but we’re trying to come up with a plan,” he added.

“It’s difficult because we can’t get access but we’re working off the basis that hopefully we will get access soon.

“Then we will be able to assess how we will return cars to their owners because that’s our priority.

“We know for a fact that it will be impossible to drive them out of the car park so we will have to find another way.

The destroyed cars inside the Douglas Shopping Centre car park.
The destroyed cars inside the Douglas Shopping Centre car park.

Mr Mieszala explained that even opening the shopping centre to pedestrians could be difficult.

“It depends on a lot of factors,” he said.

“We will have to discuss that with the team but it’s too early to say.

“We would love to — we want to reopen soon, get on with it and get over this unfortunate event,” he added.

“But it’s too early for anyone involved to give an estimate at this point.

“We’re just working on a daily basis and we now have to wait until morning to find out more.

Still from video by Cork City Fire Brigade via their Twitter Account. Douglas Village Shopping Centre fire aftermath showing buckled steel beams.
Still from video by Cork City Fire Brigade via their Twitter Account. Douglas Village Shopping Centre fire aftermath showing buckled steel beams.

“We’ll see after that what plans we can make in terms of potentially rebuilding something or fixing it, and getting the idea of the quickest and easiest way to get cars removed and back to their owners.”

Mr Mieszala said that the “best case scenario” could see the removal of cars starting this evening or tomorrow but that it would depend on this morning’s meeting.

David Spillett, acting chief fire officer, Cork City, (right) and Vincent Farr, leading firefighter, Cork City, at the scene on Sunday morning.Picture Denis Minihane.
David Spillett, acting chief fire officer, Cork City, (right) and Vincent Farr, leading firefighter, Cork City, at the scene on Sunday morning.Picture Denis Minihane.

“This is a huge priority for us but we’re not sure how quickly it can happen.” He explained that a team are working to collect a database of information in terms of the cars in the carpark and their owners.

The Douglas multistorey carpark fire could be seen from across the city.
The Douglas multistorey carpark fire could be seen from across the city.

“Once we have that, it will make it quicker and easier to send information to the owners,” he said.

“I do understand that it’s a huge inconvenience for people and it is our priority but at the moment, there’s not much we can do.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content