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I pulled dead colleague out of blaze hell – firefighter

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Firefighter Eddie McCann

Firefighter Eddie McCann

Firefighter Eddie McCann

A BRAY fireman broke down in court as he described crawling through a fire to pull a dead colleague out of a burning building.

Brian Murray (46) and Mark O'Shaughnessy (26) died fighting a blaze at a disused ink factory at Adelaide Villas in Bray on September 26, 2007.

Wicklow County Council, which runs the fire service, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges relating to alleged criminal breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

technique

On day six of the trial, Eddie McCann described how he and his colleague, Tony Horan, went into the building to rescue their colleagues.

Mr McCann told Alex Owens, prosecuting, that the conditions inside the building were horrendous. He said: "It was a tremendous heat. Unbelievable. It was like a furnace".

He said that the two of them began crawling through the building.

Mr McCann was overcome with emotion a number of times during his testimony.

He said he was trying to fight the fire using a technique called 'pulsing'. This involves short quick bursts of water or foam to create a fine mist that changes the nature of the fire.

He said when he tried this with the new foam mix they were using that day, it didn't work the way he expected it to. He said: "I tried to pulse again. It was having no effect."

He said he and Mr Horan came out and re-entered the building two or three times. At one point he decided to switch to a water hose.

He said: "We went back in on our stomachs. I pulsed up with the hose but the pressure on the hose reel wasn't great. I kept looking for Brian."

He said he heard a loud bang in front of him. He managed to find Mr Murray's hose, and followed it along the ground.

He said: "The smoke had started to clear a bit. Visibility was better. I saw reflective bands on leggings and I knew it was one of the lads. There was a piece of wood over it."

He said he grabbed the straps of the man's breathing apparatus and started to pull him back towards the door. He roared: "I got him."

system

He said that when they got to the door they took the man's mask off.

"I knew it was Mark. His hair was standing up. I knew he was dead. I fell out of the doorway. I was wrecked."

He told counsel that he had not received hot fire training using the new compressed air foam system (CAFS).

Under cross-examination he told Aileen Donnelly, defending, that during a talk on CAFS before getting the new system, he was told that it was not possible to 'pulse' using the foam system.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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