Residents evacuated as fire breaks out at 18th century building
RESIDENTS were evacuated from a five-storey apartment block after a fire broke out yesterday afternoon.
There were no reports of any injuries.
Neighbouring business premises on North Quay in New Ross, Co Wexford, were also evacuated and roads closed after the blaze broke out at the Kennedy Plaza apartment block at 4.30pm.
The building, which is one of the oldest and largest in the town, also has significant storage space.
The ground floor was recently developed into a shop unit but remains unoccupied.
The traditional stone building and former wool store dates from the 18th century. Yesterday, 20ft-high flames rose from the building while thick, black smoke hung over the surrounding area.
There are currently 13 occupied apartments in the building.
It required six fire brigade units from New Ross and the surrounding towns to fight the blaze, which was brought under control by 5.15pm.
Last month, the owner of the building, a well-known businessman called Les Peacock, applied to New Ross Town Council for the by-laws to be amended to allow him to open a casino in the building.
However, his bid was comprehensively rejected by councillors.
In the past, Mr Peacock was involved in a coal business and owns a small filling station on the Waterford side of New Ross.
The N30 Enniscorthy/New Ross road remained closed for a time at Mountelliott and diversions were put in place.