A huge fire which destroyed the historic Bank Buildings in Belfast City Centre last August started accidentally, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has said.
The blaze, which broke out on the morning of August 28, swept through the Primark store, completely destroying the building.
In a statement issued today, the NIFRS said its probe into the cause of the fire is now complete.
“In conjunction with the Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, we have completed our extensive investigation to determine the cause of the fire at Bank Buildings Belfast on 28 August 2018," a NIFRS spokesperson said.
“We can now confirm that the cause of the fire was accidental.
“The HSENI has received our Fire Investigation Report. As this forms part of their wider investigation it is not appropriate for NIFRS to be more specific about the actual cause of the accidental fire while this investigation is ongoing.
“Given the extensive damage caused by the fire, the fire investigation process was complex, detailed and protracted. We would like to thank our Fire Investigation Team in Eastern Area Command for their diligence and tireless work in this investigation. We would also like to thank our partner agencies for their co-operation and assistance.”
The NIFRS has said its Fire Investigation Report into the incident will not be made public while the HSENI investigation is ongoing.
Painstaking restoration work at the Grade B1 listed building at Castle Junction is ongoing.