Tuesday 16 January 2018

Barbecue blaze that devastated Dublin apartment block leaves 100 people homeless

Repairs to apartment block will take months and cost six figures

Dublin fire brigade tend to a fire at the Verdemont apartments in Blanchardstown
Dublin fire brigade tend to a fire at the Verdemont apartments in Blanchardstown
Emergency services at the scene of the fire at the Verdemont apartment complex in Blanchardstown. Photo: Colin Keegan
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Almost 100 people have been left homeless after a blaze caused by a barbecue ripped through a Dublin apartment block.

The cost of repairing the damage caused by the fire at the Verdemont Apartment complex in Blanchardstown is likely to run into hundreds of thousands of euro.

It is also likely to take months to complete the repair work after 24 properties were badly damaged.

It is believed the blaze was started when a fire from a barbecue ignited the roof of a block on Wednesday evening.

Collapsed

The fire spread through the roof spaces to neighbouring properties, and then spread into the apartments when the roofs collapsed.

Ten units of Dublin Fire Brigade fought the blaze using a turntable ladder.

As a result, the apartments underneath the blazing units were extensively water-damaged.

Investigators combed the scene yesterday as they gathered evidence to establish the cause of the fire. The remains of a barbecue were taken away for analysis.

Meanwhile, residents were critical of what they said was a lack of access for the fire brigade to fight the blaze.

Firefighters at the scene of a fire in West Dublin. Photo: Mark Ward
Firefighters at the scene of a fire in West Dublin. Photo: Mark Ward
Firefighters at the scene of a fire in West Dublin. Photo: Mark Ward
Firefighters at the scene of a fire in West Dublin. Photo: Mark Ward
Firefighters at the scene of a fire in West Dublin. Photo: Mark Ward

Some of the property owners and tenants wept and were comforted by friends as the true extent of the damage became clear yesterday.

Jim O'Connor, from the O'Connor Property Management Company, explained to residents they were awaiting the arrival of structural engineers and insurance assessors to examine the scene before allowing anyone in to retrieve belongings.

Addressing the question of accommodation, he said a lot of people had been put up by family members on Wednesday night and Fingal County Council and the Civil Defence had provided temporary accommodation for around five families.

"The real challenge here will be accommodating people in the long term. The building won't be reinstated for months and there are 24 properties affected in the main block and two adjacent properties as well," he said.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said the Department's local Community Welfare Service was working with Fingal County Council to support anyone affected.

"I want to assure residents affected that the department is on hand to discuss how it can best support those affected," he said.

"The Department's Community Welfare Service has already held an emergency multi-agency clinic offering advice and support, in tandem with the council and Citizens' Information.

"I want to thank Dublin Fire Brigade, the gardaí, staff in my department and in Fingal County Council for their swift and effective response."

Tenant Michael Wilson said the chances of anything having survived in his apartment were slim.

"I live here with my sister Corrina and we don't have contents cover. I would advise anyone renting to make sure they have it," he said.

Irish Independent

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