Fire City's 24th birthday goes off with a bang
An explosive fatal fire in Fair City tonight marks the 24th birthday of the RTÉ series in grand soap tradition.
The Carrigstown community is ripped apart when four residents find themselves in a factory inferno -- and only three make it out alive.
Fair City actors said real fire was used in the dramatic scene.
Locals watch on, helpless, as flames lick through the factory building, at first unaware that there are two people inside.
Damien and Caoimhe have been enjoying an illicit romantic moment inside the building and fail to notice the blaze.
As the fire engulfs the building a violent flashover knocks Damien unconscious and leaves Caoimhe in a blind panic trying to drag him out of the office.
Caoimhe's screams are heard from one of the windows, by the gathering crowd and Judith recognises her voice.
Caoimhe's dad Tommy rushes into the building to rescue her joined by Luke who helps Caoimhe drag a barely conscious Damienfrom the building.
Meanwhile, Tommy is left struggling for air and realises he is trapped by flames, but shouts to Caoimhe reassuring her he is right behind her.
When Luke emerges from the building he realises Tommy is not with them and rushes back into the inferno to rescue him with tragic consequences.
Actor Maclean Burke, who plays Damien, described the episode as "definitely the most fun and technically difficult one we have ever done, without a shadow of a doubt".
"It was the real deal. Entire sets were on fire," he told the Herald.
"It was extremely hot and dangerous. It was not done by a lot of stunt men.
"On one occasion the flames caught some of the clothes I was wearing but thankfully there were lots of safety guys standing by."
The actor said at no point was he afraid. "I'm a bit of an adrenalin junkie. I loved it."
Maclean has had several strong storylines in his 16 years with the soap including the headline grabbing episode when he was subjected to domestic violence by Suzanne, his wife in the series.
"I have been really lucky with storylines over the years," he said. "I'm just thankful that in this episode my character survives."
He said the cast plans to get together and watch the programme tonight as it goes out and have their own celebration.