An architect who specialises in the conservation of old buildings has described the challenge in restoring the Primark shop which was destroyed in a major fire, saying the expertise exists.
Much of the interior of the historic Bank Buildings in Belfast has collapsed following the fire on Tuesday.
While the fire service says there is "still a risk" of collapse, architect Bronagh Lynch, said she hopes it could be salvaged.
Ms Lynch, who is a conservation architect and member of Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA), said other buildings which have suffered huge damage have been restored.
The Bank Buildings is one of Belfast architect William Henry Lynn's masterpieces.
The incident at Primark Belfast is ongoing. There continue to be small pockets of fire within the building. A 45 meter exclusion zone remains in place. Operations are expected to be scaled back to 3 Fire Appliances later this evening. https://t.co/PduKNDfFTB pic.twitter.com/8Iskc880J4— NIFRS (@NIFRSOFFICIAL) August 29, 2018
The five-storey building is listed and is recognised by the Historic Environment Division in Northern Ireland.
"It's a very significant building to Belfast, and its status is recognised by the fact it's listed by the historic environment," she said.
"It's a very important building to the city.
She said that while the scene of the building after the fire looks "tragic and scary", she would not rule out attempts to restore it.
"All of the floors have collapsed and the roof has collapsed, but I would certainly hope it could be salvaged. There's a lot of lessons that can be learned from other historic fires like Windsor Castle," she added.
"It's a big challenge but the expertise exists across the UK with the right type of consultants.
Sad to hear about today's fire at Primark (Penney's) housed in the The Bank Buildings, Royal Avenue, Belfast. Here is the beautiful building in the earlier part of the 20th century. (Archiseek) pic.twitter.com/PcqdyvDBhm— Old Ireland Pictures (@OldIrelandPics) August 28, 2018
"Buildings like these are very important, they tell the story of the city and how it has develops."
She explained that to restore a building with this type of damage would require specialist engineers to asses the stability.
- Press Association