Car park review to examine installing sprinklers

Car park review to examine installing sprinklers

The chief executive of Cork City Council has ordered a review of the city’s multi-storey car parks in the wake of the devastating Douglas car park fire.

Ann Doherty said it is important to establish if there are lessons to be learned, and if so, what steps can be taken to address that.

She confirmed she has asked senior fire officers in Cork City Fire Brigade, which has been widely praised for how it responded to Saturday’s complex fire-fighting operation, to examine the city’s two publicly-owned car parks at Paul St and North Main St.

It is understood that among the key issues to be considered will be whether sprinkler systems should be retrofitted.

Ms Doherty said: “Buildings are built at a point in time to certain regulations and they are appropriately certified.

“But that doesn’t mean that if things change, you don’t retrofit. And that’s why I have asked for our fire service to review our own car parks.”

It follows confirmation that there was no sprinkler system in the Douglas Village Shopping Centre car park which was devastated in the intense blaze.

A sprinkler system fitted to the ground floor of the shopping centre did activate during the fire.

But it emerged on Monday that building regulations relating to sprinkler systems in car parks apply to underground car parks only.

It took up to 50 firefighters just over four hours to bring the massive blaze, which broke out in a car on level one, under control.

The heat was so intense, the building’s steel superstructure melted. It is facing demolition.

Up to 60 cars have been destroyed and more were damaged.

The shopping centre and all of its units face closure for weeks and hundreds of retail workers face an uncertain future.

Ms Doherty also confirmed that she has convened a taskforce to meet Douglas business owners this morning to discuss possible support measures over the coming weeks and months.

She made her comments as the massive operation continues to retrieve the 130 other cars trapped inside one by one by crane.

Assessors from several insurance companies visited the storage compound in the village yesterday to inspect the recovered vehicles before they were handed back to their owners.

Pat Hannon was among those to get his car back.

“It’s perfect, which is unbelievable given that it was about 50 or 60 yards from the seat of the fire,” she said.

Meanwhile, a beauty salon stepped in yesterday to ensure the Douglas blaze wouldn’t ruin bride Niamh Collins’ big day today.

The fire forced the closure of the hair salon and the nail bar where she had appointments this week before tying the knot with Darragh Keating today.

“My hair and nails are not the most important thing and in the wider context of what happened to the shopping centre, it pales into insignificance,” said Niamh.

“The show would have gone on. I’m sure he’d still have married me without the nails being done.”

But she was the picture of calm after Bishopstown Beauty Salon slotted her and her bridal party in for a last-minute shellac manicure.

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