herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Nurse's death sparks fears for 18,000 flats in basements

THE owners of the city's 18,000 basement flats are to be targeted in an information campaign about the risks of flooding.

It comes after nurse Cecilia De Jesus drowned in last October's floods when water engulfed her basement home.

Dublin City Council has now decided to highlight the dangers to residents if the proper precautions are not taken.

The council is to spearhead an awareness campaign dealing with "the risks of people living in basement flats".

However, it does not yet propose to make it compulsory to install water alarms in the units.







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Ms De Jesus, who worked at Our Lady's Hospice, in Harold's Cross, desperately screamed for help for 10 minutes as water poured into her flat on Parnell Road in Harold's Cross on the night of October 24.

The mother-of-one, who was in her 50s had only recently moved into the building ahead of her husband's arrival from the Philippines.

She died just hours after off-duty Garda Ciaran Jones was swept away while attempting to divert traffic from a dangerous bridge in Co Wicklow.

Fine Gael councillor Bill Tormey told the council's environment committee that Ms De Jesus could not get out of her flat. He urged officials to prioritise the "potentially lethal situation" of residents being trapped in garden-level accommodation.

The council said its first task would be to give guidance to residents and owners of the buildings, but the whole question of compulsory measures was "down the road".

Ms De Jesus's husband had been due to join her in December but that was before her life was tragically cut short. Floods engulfed the row of terraced Georgian houses at around 11pm on October 24, after the River Poddle burst its banks.

Witnesses described how the torrent quickly made its way down an incline from Harold's Cross before hitting Parnell Road. A woman living above Ms De Jesus was awoken by the sound of screaming.

"Help me, help me, help me, for maybe 10 minutes she was crying," the woman recalled.

Rescuers recovered her remains the following day.

comurphy@herald.ie

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