Monday 21 January 2019

'We heard a big explosion' - Apartment complex evacuated after fire breaks out in underground car park

(Photo: Dublin Fire Brigade)
(Photo: Dublin Fire Brigade)
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Tallaght apartment complex had to be evacuated in the early hours of this morning after a fire broke out in the underground car park.

One resident, who was returning to her apartment after being in a hotel for the night with her young son and daughter, told of how they heard an explosion under the ground.

"First we heard the smoke alarms going off and we say the smoke coming out of the ground vents, and we checked to see if our car was on fire," the young mother explained.

"Then we saw the flames coming out of the vents too and the next thing we heard a big explosion, a huge bang, from the car park" she added.

"The fire brigade was called and we all had to leave and go to a hotel," the woman explained, as she and her children stood outside their apartment entrance in their night clothes.

A van and car are reported to have been destroyed in the fire some time after 2am, but the blaze also ignited a gas main.

It is unclear at this early stage if a gas leak caused the fire or if the vehicles went on fire first and then set the gas main ablaze.

Eight units of Dublin Fire Brigade fought the fire at the Bancroft Hall apartments, all coordinated from a mobile incident unit.

The occupants of the block were forced to leave while the emergency was dealt with.

There were no reports of injuries but some people were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

A Dublin Fire Brigade spokesman said underground fires are particularly dangerous for crews to tackle because of the concentration of heat and smoke in a confined space.

Gas crews and ESB crews were called to the scene to isolate supply to the building.

Many of the occupants of the building were later allowed back to their homes, but a number of people were given temporary shelter in a local hotel.

The fire broke out in a corner of the car park close to the Greenhills Road. Smoke damage can be seen on the apartments above where the fire took place.

Gardai have cordoned off the affected area pending a technical examination later this morning.

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