City centre fire scare prompts warning

A leading Belfast retailer has warned others to be vigilant after a fire at the city centre store caused thousands of poundsa in smoke damage.

Sports store SS Moore’s premises on Chichester Street, one of the longest established retailers in the city, was evacuated on Wednesday morning when smoke was discovered pouring from an electrical control box.

“We had 10 staff in the store and three customers, and the staff were going about their normal business,” said director Jonathan Moore.

“Upon detection of smoke billowing from the electrics box, the alarm was raised.

“The building was quickly evacuated and the emergency services called. A call was also placed to Northern Ireland Electricity.

A fire crew attended the shop within two to three minutes said Mr Moore, by which time the whole of the ground floor was covered in black smoke.

NIE were also on the scene quickly and cut the power supply from an external control, he added.

“We have been told that if this had happened overnight – the situation would have been very different.

“We are now facing thousands of pounds of smoke damaged stock.”

The family business has occupied the building for 40 of its 65-year history, and is now the only independent sports retailer in Belfast.

“I would like to thank the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for their rapid response and NIE for their immediate action,” added Mr Moore.

“I would also encourage all businesses to have their electrical boxes checked by NIE to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.”