Blaze in Dublin apartment block 'started deliberately'
A series of fires that destroyed up to six cars in an underground car park of a Dublin apartment complex are believed to have been started deliberately.
The blazes occurred in the Richmond Hall apartments on Richmond Road shortly after 4.30am.
All the residents of the front two blocks were forced to leave their homes as 12 units of Dublin Fire Brigade fought the flames.
One resident told Independent.ie that there appears to have been three separate fires in the car park, leading gardai to believe they were started deliberately.
The fire destroyed six cars and a motorbike, and other cars are said to have been damaged by the heat and smoke.
"I heard noises at around 4.30am and a couple of bangs, and then a car horn started to sound continuously," said Fionnuala Power (28) from Wexford.
"Then I heard a third bang and looked out the window and saw smoke, the next thing I heard was the fire alam going off in the apartment," she added.
"There was people starting to gather on the far side of the road so I left at that stage. I have smoke damage to my apartment because the fumes were coming up through the vent in front of my home," Fionnuala explained.
"But when I was across the road you could see flames jumping through the grille at the next block to mine," she added.
Dublin Fire Brigade fought the fires in very difficult conditions because the confined and darkened space under the apartments was full of choking black smoke.
Hazards also included exploding tyres, fuel tanks and hydraulic equipment on vehicles.
The fires were quickly brought under control but the heat of the flames had melted the sewer pipes along the roof of the car park, making the area a health hazard.
Residents in Richmond Hall were requested not to flush their toilets this morning if possible.
Gardai have sealed off all entrances to the car park and a forensic examination was due to take place later today.
A spokesperson for the gardai confirmed the fires were being treated as arson.