The Belfast Primark building is ‘at imminent risk of collapse’ following a major fire, according to a police officer at the scene.
The blaze broke out around 11am this morning at the store in Belfast city centre, and the flame have since spread to the ground floor.
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue services rushed to the building, which was evacuated.
No injuries have been reported.
The fire service has advised the public to avoid the area.
A spokesman said: ‘NIFRS received a call at 11am today to a fire on the top floor of the Primark building – a 5 storey commercial property in the Castle Street area of Belfast.
’11 appliances are in attendance. The building has been evacuated. The public are advised to avoid the Castle Street/Royal Avenue area whilst the incident is ongoing.’
Firefighters are currently dealing with a fire in the 5th floor of the Primark building in the Castle Street area of Belfast. 11 Appliances are in attendance. The building has been evacuated. The public are advised to avoid the area whilst
the incident is ongoing. pic.twitter.com/5oHSozTR35
— NIFRS (@NIFRSOFFICIAL) August 28, 2018
Social media posts show huge plumes of black smoke coming from the roof of the Bank Buildings which is home to the Primark shop.
Major blaze at Bank Buildings (Primark) in Belfast City centre pic.twitter.com/2CQZfXdZmZ
— Chris Woodhouse (@MrCWoodhouse) August 28, 2018
— Dani McAteer (@DaniMcAteer) August 28, 2018
At least 6 fire engines in Belfast City Centre as Primark blaze continues pic.twitter.com/x6SfEjtzcj
— Niall McCracken (@Niall_journo) August 28, 2018
The Police Service of Northern Ireland also issued a warning to motorists to avoid the area.
A number of diversions are in place at Bridge Street, High Street, Castle Street and Queen’s Street as well as Royal Avenue and North Street to allow the fire service to deal with the ongoing incident.
Police have advised drivers to seek an alternative route.
There were no initial reports of injuries, but that has s yet to be confirmed by the authorities.
One witness said he spotted smoke coming from the roof of the building and alerted the security guards inside the store.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said it appeared that the security guards were not aware of the fire.
He also claimed he could not hear any alarms alerting the staff and public.
“They didn’t know it was on fire and we had to tell them,” he added.
“I couldn’t hear any alarms going off either.”