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Saturday 10 December 2016

'We thought it was a bomb', says witness as fire hits supermarket

Firefighters inspect the damage to the SuperValu shop in the Fortunestown Shopping Centre
Firefighters inspect the damage to the SuperValu shop in the Fortunestown Shopping Centre

Terrified shopkeepers and shoppers thought a bomb had gone off after an explosion sparked a massive fire at a supermarket in west Dublin.

Jordan's SuperValu in the Fortunestown Shopping Centre in Tallaght suffered extensive damage after the blaze broke out at the supermarket at around 11am yesterday.

Evacuation

Six units of the Dublin Fire Brigade from Tallaght, Dolphin's Barn and Donnybrook attended to the fire, which crews brought under control within half-an-hour.

However, the blaze caused serious damage to the front of the store and forced the evacuation of around half-a-dozen shops for several hours.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. One line of inquiry is that firelighters may have been left on a desk with a heater underneath.

The store will remain closed for at least two or three days. A spokesman said it was too early to be precise, but they hoped to re-open as soon as possible.

Fiona Sweeney, who owns the Elysium Beauty Clinic next to the supermarket, said she and other staff heard a loud explosion.

"There was a huge bang," she said. "All of the SuperValu staff were running out of the store screaming.

"We thought maybe a bomb or an explosive had gone off in the post office at the front of the store."

The explosion and the ensuing fire also had staff frantically running out of the shop with gas cylinders, out of fear that they would ignite, said Ms Sweeney.

Shaken

Customers at the store were also badly shaken.

"People were running out screaming. No one was hurt, but a lot of people were very shaken," she said.

"People got such a fright. They just ran out."

Staff from neighbouring shops were immediately ordered to the back of the parking lot for several hours as a safety precaution.

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