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Sunday 4 December 2016

'We are down, but not out' – Owners of company destroyed by fire vow to get business back up and running

Published 24/10/2016 | 16:29

Scene of the fire at Tippo in Nenagh, Co Tipperary (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Scene of the fire at Tippo in Nenagh, Co Tipperary (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

The owners of a company in Tipperary which was completely destroyed by a fire have vowed to get their business back up and running as soon as possible.

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Paddy Martin, director of Tippo International, a furniture factory located outside Nenagh, says he and his family are devastated by what happened but insists they will “weather the storm”.

Read more: 'It’s a tragedy for the family and workers' - Fears for jobs after massive blaze at well-known furniture factory

A fire broke out at the company on Sunday evening shortly before 7pm.

Fire services were immediately alerted by the Martin family, who live next door to the factory.

Nobody was injured during the incident and the eleven fire units present at the scene managed to bring the blaze under control.

“We are absolutely devastated. It’s a business we brought up from scratch back in 1991,” Mr Martin told Independent.ie.

“We managed to come through the recession; we managed to keep a float when others couldn’t. This won’t take us down – we’re down, but not out.”

“Our intention is to get back on the road as soon as possible,” he added.

Many people in Nenagh have rallied behind Paddy and his wife Mary, who is also a director of the company.

Huge crowds gathered at the scene on Sunday night to help firefighters tackle the blaze.

Mr Martin is extremely grateful for the support of local friends and family.

“Our neighbours have been amazing. We have so much gratitude for how they have reacted. We can’t speak highly enough about them.

“We are currently going through a tough time with Brexit looming, so we could really have done without this, but we will weather the storm,” he said.

The company employs 81 people, many of whom are local. Employees present in the area on Monday were too upset to talk. 

Family friend Joe Ryan says the company would be a “big loss” to the community.

“They're a great family. It’ll be a big loss to the area as there's a lot of young people working there.

"It's just sad, it always happens to the good ones. They've put a lot of work into it over the years. It could have been a lot worse if someone got caught inside it. Thanks be to God they are okay, that's the main thing."

Local farmer Seamus Hayes noticed the fire when he was out milking his cows.

“It spread in five minutes. It was like something you would see on television, or in a film. When I drove down there was an ambulance and the firefighters were trying to put it out.

“I would say that anything which can be done will be done, because they are a very well respected family and work very hard.”

The main activity of the business is the manufacture of pvc foil kitchen cabinet and wardrobe doors, kitchen worktops and bedrooms.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Tipperary’s chief fire officer, Dave Carroll, says it is not going to be easy to discover the cause of the blaze due to the significant damage done to the property and its contents.

Sinn Féin councillor Seamus Morris commended members of the Roscrea and Thurles fire units for their rapid response.

“The fire brigade were very fast at the scene and their actions saved the Martin’s family home.”

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