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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Fire service didn't probe two deaths, inquest told

Louise Roseingrave

Published 08/05/2014 | 02:30

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The Coroner's Court in Dublin

WICKLOW fire service failed to carry out an investigation into the deaths of two firefighters who died battling a blaze at a disused factory, an inquest heard.

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Chief Fire Officer at the time of the tragedy Jim Dunphy said he had not carried out a 'debriefing' in the fire service as he had concerns about interfering in Garda and Health and Safety Authority investigations.

Mr Dunphy, who retired in 2012, described the aftermath of the death of firefighters Brian Murray (46) and Mark O'Shaughnessy (26) who died fighting a fire at Adelaide Villas in Bray on September 26, 2007 as "trying times".

CAREFUL

"I was trying to be careful who I spoke to because I was aware they were going to be interviewed by the Health and Safety Authority and gardai," Mr Dunphy said, adding later he did not want to create the perception that he was 'leading' members of the fire service.

At an inquest into the deaths of the two firefighters at Dublin Coroner's Court, Colm Condon, counsel for Mr O'Shaughnessy's family, told Mr Dunphy that in conducting an investigation he would have been "doing his job".

"You have had a situation where two of your firefighters have died, on your watch, and you are saying that you didn't want to do anything about it because you felt in some way hamstrung by what other people might think you were trying to do," said Mr Condon.

The former chief fire officer said there were no guidelines for him to follow in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The inquest continues.

Irish Independent

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