Today is a sad one for the city of Belfast. One of our oldest and most iconic buildings was devastated by fire.
Known as The Bank Buildings the landmark was much admired and also much loved.
It dates from the 1780s when it was indeed a bank but Belfast Boomers will remember it best as a beautiful department store.
As young girls my friend Carol and I would go there and sneak a spray of perfume from the samples on display at the cosmetics counters or we would quickly try on a fancy hat or shoes when no one was watching.
It was such a lovely place and always smelled divine. We aspired to be able to buy just the smallest thing in that store.
Over the years it underwent many transformations most recently being the flagship store for the PRIMARK chain.
Way before Zara and H&M, PRIMARK brought great fun and joy to all of us with their affordable trend setting fashion.
Just as the fire happened a total renovation of the store was nearing completion in time for the peak Christmas shopping season.
So what is the blessing in the events of today? Not the jobs lost or the loss of revenue for sure.
The blessings are that the store was safely evacuated and that there are heroes in our communities who fight such monstrous infernos.
The same dedicated heroes who battled so hard today to save that building will go out again tonight and tomorrow and for many more days and years to come to bravely fight other blazes on our behalf.
They are AMAZING!
Blessing # 84 – Firefighters