A bizarre rent row erupted into a violent argument outside a Dublin home, just hours after a suspicious fire at the property.
The daylight dispute spiralled out of control when a group of men living in the badly-damaged house confronted the owner and a group of people that came with him when he attempted to board up the property.
Gardai were at the scene on the South Circular Road at Rialto yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the blaze that occurred at 3.30am on Sunday.
But after they left the scene the owner and his associates, one of whom was a woman, entered the house in an effort to secure it. This led to an immediate reaction from a group inside the house.
During the row, the owner of the house, his associates and the occupants were arguing in the front garden. Soon after, both sides were then trying to prevent the other side accessing the property.
The row escalated when at one stage, the occupants were bundled out of the property. They then grabbed large sections of timber from the garden, before running at the owner and his associates, which included the woman.
The men were seen lifting the large planks of wood above their heads, before swinging them at the owner. The owner was forced to retreat back into the doorway at one point, fearful he would be attacked.
Stripped to the waist, the occupants of the house were roaring and shouting at the owner.
At one point one of the men who was living in the house was seen standing face to face with an associate of the landlord, challenging him angrily to “do something” while holding two pieces of timber.
The situation calmed – but sparked off again when one of the occupants tried to get back into the charred entrance of the house.
Twice, the occupants squared up to the friends of the owner in the front garden and challenged them almost nose to nose.
Gardai were quickly called back to the tense scene in an effort to restore peace.
The woman who was with the house owner appeared to have been injured in the melee and an ambulance was called to the scene, but she had already left the area when it arrived.
After the owner changed the locks he was told by gardai to give the occupants a key.
The fire is believed to have started when a wheelie bin was placed at the front door and set alight. Two people were taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.