Saturday 21 April 2018

'I literally grabbed whatever. I was reminded of the Grenfell Tower' - residents describe fleeing scene of Ballymun fire

  • More than 60 firefighters and eight fire engines attended the blaze last night
  • Up to 200 people evacuated
  • Four units of Dublin Fire Brigade remained at the scene overnight
  • One appliance remains at the scene this morning
  • Road closures remain in place in the vicinity
  • Building evacuated when alarm raised, no reports of any injuries or missing people
  • Residents describe shock at fire
Scene in Ballymun this morning in the aftermath of the fire in The Metro Hotel.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Scene in Ballymun this morning in the aftermath of the fire in The Metro Hotel. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ballymun this morning in the aftermath of the fire in The Metro Hotel. Photo: Tony Gavin 22/3/201
Scene in Ballymun this morning in the aftermath of the fire Picture: Tony Gavin 22/3/2018
A fire at the Metro Hotel near Dublin Airport while (inset) image from Dublin Fire Brigade shows damage caused to inside of the building Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Dublin Fire Brigade
Fire crews battle blaze at Metro Hotel building
General view of fire at Metro Hotel, Ballymun, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of fire at Metro Hotel, Ballymun, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
The fire in Ballymun Anthony Flynn/Twitter
General view of Fire Brigade attempting to put out fire at Metro Hotel, Ballymun, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
The scene of the blaze in Ballymun Dublin Fire Brigade/Twitter

Conor Feehan, Ryan Nugent and Ian Begley

One of Dublin Fire Brigade's fire engines remained at the scene of a major blaze at the Metro Hotel in Ballymun this morning as residents described the shock of having to flee their homes.

The fire broke out at the Metro Hotel building in Ballymun, north Dublin shortly after 8.00pm on Wednesday night.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known, but over 60 firefighters battled the blaze to get it under control last night.

It's believed the building was fully evacuated and Dublin Fire Brigade confirmed this morning that there are no reports of any injuries  to members of the public or firefighters.

This morning, Dublin Fire Brigade posted images from inside the building, showing the extent of the damage caused by the fire.

Ballymun fire 1.jpg
Image from inside the building (Image via Dublin Fire Brigade)

Dublin Fire Brigade confirmed an investigation will begin this morning with the fire now out.

Closures remain in place on Santry Avenue this morning but Ballymun Road is open this morning.

Last night, firefighters could be seen entering the hotel with breathing apparatus on their backs while high powered hoses battled the flames from the ground up.

A fireman at the scene in Ballymun this morning in the aftermath of the fire in The Metro Hotel.
Photo: Tony Gavin 22/3/201
A fireman at the scene in Ballymun this morning in the aftermath of the fire in The Metro Hotel. Photo: Tony Gavin 22/3/201

The main source of the fire was on the 13th floor of the hotel. Debris from the building could be seen breaking off and crashing onto parked vehicles below.

The building is comprised of the Metro Hotel and Apartments.

The vicinity of the hotel was sealed off to the public with a large section of the Ballymun Road closed to vehicles for the evening.

A garda helicopter could be seen flying above the scene to access the situation.

The scene of the blaze in Ballymun
Photo: John Sheridan/Twitter
The scene of the blaze in Ballymun Photo: John Sheridan/Twitter

A witness, who went by the name of Joy, told Classic Hits' 4fm that she was in shock having waited too long to react to the fire alarm.

"I was in 903 when it happened," Joy said.

"The alarm was going on for a long time, I didn't do anything until I realised it was going on too long.

"I called reception because I turned and the windows had opened out.

Image from inside the building (Image via Dublin Fire Brigade)
Image from inside the building (Image via Dublin Fire Brigade)

"I thought it was a fault in the window and I called reception to close them.

"They said there's a fire, I needed to leave my home.

"I literally grabbed whatever. I was reminded of the Grenfell Tower, I thought oh my god, this is happening.

General view of fire at Metro Hotel, Ballymun, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of fire at Metro Hotel, Ballymun, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

"It was just me in the house," she continued.

"It was a bit shocking. I was running down and I was the only one running down.

"I was shocked. The alarm was going on for so long and I hadn't done anything.

"You just turn a blind eye."

She added; "It was shocking to see the 14th and 15th floor completely gone.

"I just have my phone with me, that's it. We're on buses now going to a hotel.

"I've lived there for two or three years. I haven't thought about the future yet, I'm just thinking, oh my god."

One local man said he could smell the smoke from his home.

"It reeked of burning plastic and even though my windows were closed I knew something big was on fire."

"When I came out to see what was happening a whole section of the upper floor was on fire. "

Anthony Flynn of the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) said he was driving past the hotel shortly before 9pm when he saw a flame at the top of the building.

"I was on my way home when I seen it and it was a spark of a fire, it was just about starting," he said.

"The first pictures I took only the top of it was on fire," he added.

Another local man told Independent.ie: "It started around 7.30pm and I saw a little spark and saw loads of people running out of the exits, screaming for help.

"It started at the third last floor and debris were falling off into the parking lot.

"The fire brigade hadn't arrived yet so ran into the lobby and the alarms were blaring. The person at the reception told me she already knew and that the emergency crew were on their way.

"The smoke hit the whole building and even went into the lifts.

"There were loads of people just running out. I saw one woman crying in her dressing gown with her three children.

"Another man was lying on the ground and being treated by the ambulance men a little while ago."

Social media user Kim Ni Chonmhaic offered help to those who had been impacted by the blaze.

She tweeted: "If anyone around the hotel needs jumpers or blankets, we're in a car in Balcurris and have both."

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has confirmed that no homeless families were residing in the building.

Local TD Noel Rock thanked the emergency services for their work during the ongoing incident.

The Fine Gael representative said: "I hope that everybody is safe but cannot be certain for the moment.

"I’d like to praise the emergency workers I’ve spoken to this evening, and thank them for their work."

This is the second multi story fire that emergency services dealt with within hours, having earlier fought a blaze in an apartment block in Sandyford.

Metro Hotel wishes to apologise to hotel patrons and guests that the hotel is currently closed, and will remain closed for some time, following a fire.

"All hotel guests (over 150) as well as the residents of 30 apartments attached to the hotel are accounted for and were relocated to the nearby Carlton Hotel for the night," it said.

"The key focus of hotel staff today is to notify inbound guests and to source alternative accommodation for tenants and guests, with whom we will be liaising throughout today.

"Unfortunately, guest and tenant access to personal belongings located in the hotel / apartments is restricted until clearance is received from emergency services. We will provide regular updates as they become available.

"The cause of the fire is still being investigated. No decision can be made about a hotel re-opening date until the cause of the fire has been established and all safety considerations have been thoroughly assessed."

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