'Inferno was most frightening thing I've ever seen' - witness describes Port Tunnel fire
Published 18/09/2015 | 07:40
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'.
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 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.
"We reversed about two kilometres to get out of the tunnel.
"It was the most frightening thing I've ever seen," he continued.
"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.
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.
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.
DUBLIN: Both the north and southbound bores of the Port Tunnel have been closed due to an incident. http://t.co/qvBPcgxUj8— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) September 18, 2015
DUBLIN: Traffic cordon in the city centre lifted as Port Tunnel is closed so HGVs are allowed through city centre. http://t.co/xIOpAblVS1— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) September 18, 2015
40 minutes to get from the airport roundabout to 100 metres past the port tunnel entrance.— Gareth (@garethpenrose) September 18, 2015
Tunnel stopped eh?! Should it have been moving..... pic.twitter.com/TulIj8mxDA— Gareth (@garethpenrose) September 18, 2015
I can confirm the northside has gone to sh#t with the port tunnel closed. @LiveDrive— Keith Kiernan (@keithkiernan) September 18, 2015
Port tunnel needs to sort its life out. Clontarf/Alfie Byrne road is a carpark right now.— Ciarán (@ApotheCiaran) September 18, 2015
Traffic is hiiiiiideous. Goes to show how essential the Port Tunnel is to the city.— Stephen Coyne (@stephen_coyne) September 18, 2015
Dublin: The Dublin Port Tunnel remains closed in both directions. Emergency Services are at scene. The fire has been extinguished.— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) September 18, 2015
Dublin traffic. :) pic.twitter.com/dwcUYWcWxa— campbellscott (@campbellscott) September 18, 2015
"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.