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The sad news of the fire at Primark, Belfast

Hello! I wonder how many people have noticed that I did not publish this morning? The reason for this late post is that I had nothing drafted or scheduled for today, and so I thought it would be good to see how the day developed and write about whatever thoughts came into my head.

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is the recent fire at the Primark store in Belfast. I don’t pay much attention to the news generally, just giving the headlines a glance at lunchtime is about my limits. However, this was different, as it so easily could have been me.

Having worked in retail, I know this is one of the nightmares a shop assistant hopes they never have to face. As part of health and safety, staff are trained on how to evacuate the store. Every time the fire bell is tested there is a sense of relief that it is only a test. Tuesday was a very different day for all those working in that Primark store, and thankfully the store was evacuated successfully with no loss of life and no injuries.

Unfortunately, the store has been gutted and a historic building has been devastated. Alongside the losses of the company, and losses to the town of Belfast, approximately 350 people are left without a place of work and currently not knowing whether they will get paid or redeployed. Those workers would also have suffered personal loss, as they would have left the building without being able to go back for their coats, bags, mobile phones, etc.

I really do feel for those members of staff who went in to work that day, just an ordinary day, only to watch everything burn and by the end of the day have nothing. As I said, it could have been me, it could have been anyone! As someone who suffers with severe anxiety, I will worry about being a customer in this situation in the future. I would now definitely prefer to try on clothes at home rather than risk being stuck in the fitting rooms in an emergency.

However, there have been good news stories since the fire, and I do try to focus on them …

In a bad situation, always look for the helpers … there will always be helpers!

There are reports of charitable donations, a baby bird saved from the smoke, people offering support to the emergency services in attendance and other businesses offering to help the Primark staff caught up in this traumatic day.

I am just grateful that nobody was hurt, and hope that it doesn’t have a bad effect on the people that did experience the emergency first hand.

Thank you for reading

Marie-Céline

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