Sunday 25 September 2016

'Inferno was most frightening thing I've ever seen' - witness describes Port Tunnel fire

Robin Schiller

Published 18/09/2015 | 07:40

Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

A witness to this morning's blaze in Dublin's Port Tunnel during rush hour described it as 'the most frightening thing he's ever seen'.

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The South and North bores of Dublin's Port Tunnel re-opened and traffic around Dublin city eased 'significantly' around noon, following the inferno.

The burned out truck is removed from the North Bound Bore of the Dublin Port Tunnel
Pic: Kyran O'Brien
The burned out truck is removed from the North Bound Bore of the Dublin Port Tunnel Pic: Kyran O'Brien
The burned out truck is removed from the North Bound Bore of the Dublin Port Tunnel Pic: Kyran O'Brien

The incident took place after a truck caught fire travelling northbound through the tunnel shortly after 7am.

It is understood a man was taken to hospital as a precaution following the blaze.

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Liveline, a Dublin taxi driver who was driving behind the truck at the time, said:

"It was just like an inferno, there was smoke being blown in the other direction.

Smoke billows out of the Port Tunnel, Dublin. Photo: Mark Hughes
Smoke billows out of the Port Tunnel, Dublin. Photo: Mark Hughes

"We reversed about two kilometres to get out of the tunnel.

"It was the most frightening thing I've ever seen," he continued.

Traffic at a standstill in Dublin's Fairview area (Photo: Rachel Last)
Traffic at a standstill in Dublin's Fairview area (Photo: Rachel Last)

"The speaker in the tunnel was announcing something but we couldn't hear - the passenger in my car got out and listened and it was telling people to leave the tunnel immediately."

At least ten units from Dublin Fire Brigade were called to the scene of the fire shortly after 7am.

Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

Both lanes in the tunnel were closed since early this morning - but the South bore reopened at approximately 10.30am, and the North bore was reopened at midday.

Although the fire was extinguished relatively quickly early this morning, traffic remained at a standstill throughout the northside of the city.

Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Traffic chaos at the M1 entrance to the Port Tunnel this morning after a truck caught fire in the tunnel (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

The burnt out truck was later towed out of the tunnel shortly before 10am this morning. The driver's cabin of the HGV was completely destroyed.

Following the fire and knock on delays caused by the necessary closure of the Port Tunnel, Dublin City Council lifted the ban on HGVs travelling through the city for the morning period.

Dublin Bus reported that all drivers were notified of the Port Tunnel closure via an internal radio system on board.

Commuter Rachel Last told Independent.ie that it took her more than one hour to travel four miles.

She used both her car and a bus to try to get work in Dublin's city centre.

"I live in Swords - I used the back roads to get out when I left my home at 7.20am this morning.

"I then drove to Coolock to drop my son at my mother's before driving to the village where I got on a bus at 8am.

"We drove for five minutes on the Malahide Road. We are now stuck in traffic at the Marino Fairview junction. We have been stuck here for at least 20 minutes.

"I spoke to another woman on the bus and she has been on it since 7.25am.

"People are getting off the buses on the Malahide Road and are walking the two or three miles to the city centre to get work," she said.

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