GARDAI were last night investigating the cause of a fire at the site of the former Stardust nightclub where asbestos has been discovered in the ruins.
The site was the scene of a horrific blaze in 1981 where 48 young people lost their lives.
No-one was injured in yesterday's fire which broke out at a children's play centre in the Butterly Business Park in Artane, Dublin, at around 3.50am, but it required seven units of Dublin Fire Brigade to bring it under control.
Asbestos was discovered as firefighters fought the blaze and specialist crews from the Environmental Protection Agency, the gardai and Dublin City Council were called in.
The children's centre, where the fire originated, was reduced to a shell after a large part of the roof caved in; while nearby buildings were also damaged.
And the fire ensured memories flooded back to those who lost loved ones in the Stardust ballroom on Valentine's Night in 1981. "It is actually like looking at the Stardust building again," Antoinette Keegan, who travelled to the site yesterday afternoon, told the Irish Independent. Ms Keegan was 18 when the Valentine's Day tragedy claimed the lives of her sisters Mary (19) and Martini (16).
"I had to build up the courage to come here today," she said.
"I heard about the fire this morning on the radio and a chill went up my spine. We've never really moved on from that night but this brought it back.
"I just thank God that there was nobody injured, that there were no children about."
A garda spokesman said there was an explosion at the empty business premises on the Kilmore Road shortly before 4am.
The spokesman said it was too early to say if the fire had been started maliciously.
Up to 40 firefighters battled the blaze, with crews noting asbestos in two forms -- in tiles and in a layer of matting left hanging from the roof -- before they left. The insulation material is highly toxic in powder or fibre form, and a security officer ensured no one entered the site yesterday afternoon before officers in specialised clothing launched the investigation.
Ms Keegan added yesterday the Stardust families hope to find out before Christmas if senior counsel Paul Coffey will recommend reopening of the public inquiry into the nightclub disaster.