Saturday 22 October 2016

Fire-risk homes in blaze estate to cost €10k each to make safe

A row of houses where most are vacant in Millfield Estate Newbridge, Co. Kildare, where a fire broke out taking six houses last month
A row of houses where most are vacant in Millfield Estate Newbridge, Co. Kildare, where a fire broke out taking six houses last month
The scene of the fire at The Millfield Manor Estate, Newbridge, Co. Kildare this morning

The cost of fixing fire safety issues in a Kildare housing estate that was affected by a massive blaze could be €10,000 per home, residents have learned.

Inspections at some homes in the Millfield estate in Newbridge have found structural and fire safety deficiencies, and residents are calling for a meeting with Kildare County Council on the matter, says local councillor Willie Crowley.

Six houses were completely destroyed on March 31 when a fire quickly spread through a terrace in less than an hour.

READ MORE: Blaze estate families fear fires will spread through their terraces

The inspection commissioned by the council on ten unoccupied houses has now been completed and a verbal briefing on the findings was given to councillors last week at an in-committee meeting.

Cllr Crowley, who attended the meeting, said "structural concerns" were identified during the inspections.

Though the inspection report has not yet been published, Cllr Crowley said there are "inferences to be made" following the verbal briefing.

"According to Department of Environment building regulations, walls separating homes require a fire resistance of one hour or more," he said

Kildare County Council commissioned the firm of engineers to inspect the houses.

It is thought a residents' committee, formed since the fire, will see the report next week.

The day after the fire destroyed the six houses, senior fire-fighter Celina Barrett said it was "impossible" to save the homes on the terrace and that her officers had to focus instead on preventing the fire spreading to the next block.

The residents' group representing the Millfield/Hawthorns estate has sent a letter to Peter Carey, chief executive of Kildare County Council, seeking a meeting with him and other directors of services in Kildare County Council and the Chief Fire Officer.


"It was indicated to us at a recent open meeting that such a meeting would be facilitated by Mr Carey," said a spokesperson for the group.

"We are also seeking a copy, in advance of the meeting, of the independent report commissioned by the council on fire safety in vacant homes in the development," they added.

"We have heard that from council sources that the cost of the remedial work to address the fire safety issues could be up to €10,000 per house," said the spokesperson.

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