Fire crews are hampered by water problem

By Luke Byrne

FIREfighters were hampered in battling a blaze at a shopping complex because of low water pressure, the Herald can reveal.

Business owners in Bray expressed concern that problems with the pressure meant there was a delay in tackling the fire.

The site of the blaze, at the Everest Centre in Castle Street, is not far from where firefighters Brian Murray (46) and Mark O'Shaughnessy (25) lost their lives in 2007 while fighting a fire at a derelict factory.

While no one was injured in the latest incident, all seven of the shops in the complex were destroyed.


"The brigade were down very quickly, but they couldn't get the water to fight the fire. There was no pressure," said a business owner.

An informed source told the Herald that crews were delayed in filling water tanks and tried numerous sources in the town to find a hydrant with sufficient pressure.

It has been an ongoing problem in the area, the source said.

A spokesperson for the council initially said he was unaware of any problem with the pressure.

He said that at the scene of a fire, crews usually check multiple sources for water, which may have caused confusion.

A statement from Irish Water said it was aware of the blaze and had requested a report from Wicklow County Council.

Meanwhile, hero bike shop owner Tommy Hanratty told how he battled through smoke and flames to rescue a man living above his business during the blaze.

Mr Hanratty, who owns the now destroyed Everest Cycles, saved his German friend Hanno Garms.

"He was upstairs in the apartment. He was in bed and I went up. It was a wall of darkness, a wall of black smoke," he said.

Mr Hanratty banged on the door and eventually woke his friend, who was able to escape.

Mr Hanratty, who stayed up all night to help in the containment effort, said there were customers in his shop when the fire broke out.

Gardai are not treating the blaze as suspicious.