Wednesday 26 June 2019

Crews battle blaze at Vinegar Hill

Firefighters battle the blaze while crowds watch from the hilltop
Firefighters battle the blaze while crowds watch from the hilltop
A fireman working to contain the blaze on Vinegar Hill

Pádraig Byrne

Plumes of smoke could rising from Vinegar Hill were visible all over Enniscorthy on Wednesday evening as members of Enniscorthy and Bunclody Fire Service battled to prevent a major blaze spreading from the historic site to nearby houses and Coláiste Bríde Secondary school.

The call went out just before 5.30 p.m. after residents spotted smoke rising from an overgrown area below the rocks on the way up the hill. While one of the Enniscorthy crews was busy responding to a call in Wexford, the second crew mobilised immediately and set about bringing the blaze under control. Fears arose, however, when a change in wind direction started to spread the fire in the direction of houses and the secondary school and the Enniscorthy crew immediately requested back-up from Bunclody Fire Station. 'We had to call for assistance when it started spreading down the hill towards the houses and school,' a spokesman said. 'The Bunclody crew arrived just in time and we managed to contain it and bring it under control.'

The crews battled the blaze for over two hours and when it was under control, they had to set about dampening the scene to prevent it re-kindling. With the fire breaking out in a somewhat difficult area to get to, this was not an easy task and members of the fire service continued to monitor the area the following morning.

While no definitive cause has been established as to how the fire broke out, the assertion that it was started deliberately has not been dismissed by the fire service and gardaí also attended the scene on Wednesday. While the situation could have been far worse, had the fire spread to nearby homes, acres of this beautiful green area have now been left black and charred and will take a long time to return to their former glory.

Enniscorthy Guardian