Tenants flee blaze at house of ex-garda convicted for flouting fire safety rules
RESIDENTS of a house owned by a disgraced former garda, previously convicted for breaches in fire safety regulation, had to flee for their lives as a blaze ravaged their accommodation.
One man had to jump from a first-floor window, while another family smashed their window and were preparing to use a ladder to escape the inferno.
They were rescued as the fire services arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The fire broke out at 116 Cabra Park, Dublin 7, which is owned by former garda Kevin Galvin, who was dismissed from the force in 2010 after an investigation into 19 complaints against him.
The complaints included breaches of fire safety, planning and littering regulations at 116 Cabra Park; 73 Cabra Park, which is directly across from 116; and one other property owned by him.
About 14 people were in the house, which is divided into different flats, when the fire broke out.
One of the residents, Liviv Rus, originally from Romania, told how he was forced to jump from his first-floor window as smoke filled his flat.
"I couldn't see anything, the room was just filling with smoke. I went over to the window and had to jump straight out. I hurt my leg when I landed. It could have been much worse," he said.
Despite the dramatic escapes, none of the residents were seriously injured. Six people received medical attention at the scene.
Gardai believe the fire may have been started intentionally in the back yard of the house. The flats nearest the back yard of the property suffered the worst damage.
Chef Barry O'Donovan, originally from Bantry, Co Cork, had been living in the Cabra house for nine months.
He had just returned from work and was about to fall asleep when he opened his eyes to see his ground-floor apartment, situated to the rear of the property, fill with smoke.
"There was black smoke everywhere and then when I got to my door I saw massive flames from the flat beside mine. I got out as quick as I could and now everything in my room is completely destroyed," he said.
Olexander Kustov, from Ukraine, said he heard someone banging on the door and then the alarms going off.
"I tried to knock on all the doors when I saw the smoke in the corridor. I went up and down twice before I couldn't do it anymore and had to get out," said Mr Kustov, who has been living at the address for two-and-a-half years.
Mr Galvin said he would not comment when contacted last night.
The father of two, with an address at Furry Park Road, Killester, Dublin, has previously been sentenced to a six-week prison sentence for contempt of court and a three-month suspended sentence for breaches of fire safety regulations.
In December 2011, the High Court rejected the former garda's challenge aimed at overturning his government-sanctioned dismissal from the force on grounds his continued membership of it would "undermine public confidence" in the gardai.