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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Residents fear fire beside petrol station was started maliciously

Firefighters battle the blaze at the derelict building, just yards from a petrol station.
Firefighters battle the blaze at the derelict building, just yards from a petrol station.

Portmarnock residents are in shock after a derelict building went up in flames just yards from a petrol station.

Gardai are investigating the fire on the Strand Road, Portmarnock - which some locals fear was started maliciously by a gang of youths.

The blaze was spotted shortly before midnight on Saturday last week and firefighters are understood to have fought the fire throughout the night.

It is believed the initial fire in the building spread to some large trees nearby.

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Treasurer of the Portmarnock Residents Association, David Kelly, filmed the inferno and said that nearby residents were lucky that Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) got the blaze under control before it spread to the petrol station.

"There was a big crowd there on Saturday night and a lot of people were worried - they didn't expect a fire like this so close to a petrol station," Mr Kelly said.

"The other side of that wall [where the fire was] is where they store the gas canisters. The cylinders could have gone up, they were in a cage.

"Any petrol station that I've seen go up there is [always] a serious fire anyway - the owner was looking out, I'm sure he was very worried.

"Like any fire, people are shocked and for all the residents at the back, they were probably the most worried.

"Somebody said the flames were up to 30-feet high," he added.

Independent Councillor Jimmy Guerin, who used to live in the area, said he believed the estate at the back of the building is at a serious risk from fires.

"The estate behind has had to put up with a lot of potential danger... I'd say it's a bigger danger now than it ever was," he said.

Mr Guerin referred to the recent fire at Belcamp House in Darndale and said he is worried that fires at vacant buildings are becoming an unwanted trend.

"It's recurring, and it would be a cause of concern if derelict buildings are being attacked," he said.

"That would seem to be more than a coincidence that two of them have been attacked."

An application has been made by a developer to build four houses at the location, which is known as St Helen's.

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The plans include building two detached three-bedroom homes and two detached four-bedroom units on the site, with an application made in November 2015.

Fingal County Council is awaiting a further response from the developer after it requested the application be amended in order to reduce the overall height of the proposed dwellings.

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