Demolition of Douglas Shopping Centre begins, three months after fire

Demolition of Douglas Shopping Centre begins, three months after fire
Demolition work on Douglas Shopping Centre, Douglas, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Demolition has begun at the suburban shopping centre car park in Cork which was gutted by fire almost three months ago. The manager of Douglas Village Shopping Centre, which has been closed since the August 31 blaze, said the work is expected to take some time.

Bartosz Mieszala also insisted that the centre's Summer 2020 reopening date is still on schedule. Fire broke out in a car parked on the first floor of the car park on August 31, generating temperatures hot enough to melt its steel superstructure.

While firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to the shopping centre, it was forced to close, causing massive disruption to traders and resulting in some job losses. Dozens of damaged and stranded cars had to be removed from the car park first - an operation which was only concluded recently.

Now demolition is underway, with Mr Mieszala saying while the fire damaged around 2.6% of the complex, an estimated 12% will have to be rebuilt. The demolition will focus initially on the first floor level of the car park, close to the seat of the blaze, before the work shifts to the damaged upper floors above the seat of the fire.

Meanwhile, Senator Jerry Buttimer, who raised in the Seanad last week the business insurance issues affecting traders hit by the fire, said the insurance industry must treat them with respect.

“There should be a willingness on the part of the insurance industry to embrace the traders and work with them,” he said.

“I believe there is a need for the insurance companies to be flexible and fair to people who are out of business through no fault of their own. They must be flexible in how they handle this, and not have the traders met with obfuscation and foot-dragging.”

He said Minister of State, Michael D’Arcy, who has responsibility for insurance reform, has indicated that he will engage with the industry on the issue.

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