Saturday 21 September 2019

Compensation battle over devastating car-park fire

Long haul: An undamaged car is removed by crane from Douglas Village Shopping Centre. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Long haul: An undamaged car is removed by crane from Douglas Village Shopping Centre. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Ralph Riegel and Caroline O’Doherty

A multi-million euro compensation battle is looming between a motor insurance firm and a giant car manufacturer after a blaze which will force the partial demolition of a multi-storey car park.

Douglas Village Shopping Centre and its multi-storey car park had to be evacuated last Saturday after an accidental fire started in a parked vehicle.

This vehicle, which was parked on level one of the multi-storey complex, later had its fuel tank explode which immediately spread flames to other cars. The female driver had desperately tried to raise the alarm.

Precisely what happened was then recorded by CCTV security cameras.

By the time the blaze was subsequently brought under control by 11 units of Cork Fire Brigade in a major incident response, some 60 cars had been gutted or badly damaged.

Around 130 other cars were trapped on the upper levels of the car park. The painstaking task of lifting the cars out individually by heavy duty crane began yesterday.

A senior legal source has indicated that initial liability for the damage involved will now be claimed from the car owner's insurance company.

This is expected to trigger a secondary action where the insurance firm will involve the giant car manufacturer.

Assessments are ongoing over the precise cause of the fire.

Irish Independent

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