The car which caused the massive fire in the multi-storey car park of a Cork shopping centre almost eight weeks ago has finally been removed for specialist examination.
The vehicle, which has been confirmed as an Opel Zafira, was removed from the first floor of the Douglas Shopping Centre car park earlier this week using a remotely-operated towing device.
It was loaded into a sealed container and removed by truck to an undisclosed location where it will undergo detailed inspection.
It is understood that a number of experts, working on behalf of a number of interested parties, including insurance companies, will be given an opportunity to inspect it in an effort to establish why it burst into flames.
Opel has recalled over 235,000 Zafiras in three separate recalls since 2015 amid fire safety concerns. It has yet to be established if the vehicle at the centre of this incident was a model involved in the recalls.
It has also been confirmed to the shopping centre’s traders, whose businesses have been closed since the fire on August 31, that the projected summer 2020 reopening date remains on target.
This is despite traders’ concerns about the apparent lack of visible progress on repairs and about their ability to secure certain business insurance payouts.
But a representative of the shopping centre’s landlords, the Shipton Group, met the traders’ representative, Terry Coleman, on Thursday to provide an update.
Mr Coleman told traders that a large team of builders and engineers have been working inside the car park structure and shopping centre in recent weeks on a range of preparatory works to facilitate the repair phase but that the suspect car had to be removed first.
Now that’s done, it is hoped the way is clear for the repairs to ramp up.
Fire broke out in the car on the first floor of the multi-storey car park on the evening of August 31 and spread rapidly.
It generated temperatures hot enough to melt the car park’s steel superstructure.
Dozens of vehicles were gutted. Dozens more stranded inside had to be removed by crane. The shopping centre has been closed since.
Mr Coleman said he has now advised affected traders to contact their own insurance brokers or companies and instruct them to write directly to the shopping centre landlords requesting a letter stating the reopening date.
This, he said, will allow the landlord to issue the required documentation which should allow the insurance companies to process specific claims arising out of the incident.
The city council is expected to extend street parking incentives in Douglas into November.