Tuesday 20 February 2018

Up to 30 homes suffer extensive damage from 'wildfire'

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Up to 30 homes have suffered "extensive" smoke damage after a fire destroyed seven houses in an estate in Kildare.

The fire broke out in the Millfield Manor estate, Newbridge, at around 5.45pm.

Local councillor Willie Crowley said the thick plume of smoke reached other houses in the estate, leaving a layer of black soot across walls, floors and furnishings.

"It's a tragedy. The area resembles a warzone," he told the Irish Independent.

"The fire spread like wildfire and the smoke is unbelievable," he said.

"People are walking around wearing masks. You can't get within 100 metres of the area because of density of the smoke."

The affected families have been accommodated in the homes of friends and relatives, he said.

"How did it spread so quickly in a modern complex?

"There's a mixture of houses and apartments in that estate.

"Some of them are privately owned, while others are council tenants."

Independent Councillor Willie Crowley said this morning the local community have rallied around the families involved.

Speaking to Newstalk this morning, Cllr Crowley said some of the families stayed in hotels last night while others stayed in private housing.

“It is good news that nobody was seriously injured but there has been a considerable amount of psychological damage and collateral damage done,” he said.

“Everyone was accommodated last night and the local social club is making facilities available, people are coming with all sorts of items of clothing for the kids.

“There is a meeting this morning at 11am to further coordinate the efforts and it will be attended by a social worker, members of the civil defence, some of the housing department of the county council.

“That’s the biggest question, as you can appreciate emotions are running high, particularly for the families.

“People are asking questions about how the fire spread.

“These questions will be asked and they will be answered.”

Gardai have arrested a 39-year-old man in connection with the investigation.

No injuries have been reported.

Irish Independent

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