EXCLUSIVE: INVESTIGATORS believe a fire which gutted a Belfast City Centre store was started lights on a Christmas tree.
Belfast Daily understands a spark from the lights set the tree on fire at the B and M store in the early hours of last Friday.
A Fire and Rescue Service source told Belfast Daily: “It would appear there was a fault in the lights which caused a Christmas tree in the shop to go on fire.
“The fire quickly spread throughout the store. Shopkeepers and even householders should remember to switch all Christmas trees off at night.”
Around 40 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at B&M Bargains shop in Rosemary Street.
A dozen or more full and part time staff will be affected by the store being gutted.
The alarm was raised after flames were by a passing police patrol around 5.10 am on Friday morning.
Firefighters, from the on the ground and on aerial platforms, managed to contain the blaze to the first floor of the three-storey building.
They were also able to prevent it spreading to neighbouring shops and buildings.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said its crews worked in “challenging conditions” to bring it under control.
Said a spokesperson: “At the height of the incident 10 fire appliances, two aerial platforms, a command support unit and 40 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze.
“The cordon has now been reviewed and members of the public and business owners can now access the arcade.”