WATER shortages hampered firemen as they fought a massive blaze in Dublin last night in which three officers were injured.
The firefighters suffered serious burns during the fire which engulfed a line of shopping outlets in Stillorgan.
Gardai were today investigating the cause of the blaze that gutted a vacant Chartbusters store and damaged nearby properties.
More than 50 fire brigade personnel, including a third of the officers from all over the city, rushed to the scene as the flames took hold.
Units from Dun Laoghaire, Rathfarnham, Donnybrook, Tara Street, as well as special appliances from as far as Dolphin's Barn, were called to the scene.
The three injured men, who are based at Dun Laoghaire Fire Station, were the first on the scene at Lower Kilmacud Road in Stillorgan at around 9.45pm.
They were brought to St James's Hospital where they were treated for burns to their arms and wrists before being discharged.
"It must have been bad if the heat could get through all the gear those lads wear," said one fireman today.
"They were in the thick of it really. It is not yet clear what happened, or how they became injured," he explained.
At one stage the blaze was so big that eight fire tenders backed up by water tankers and platform ladders were on site in the battle to prevent the flames from spreading.
A senior fire officer told the Herald that reduced water pressure in the mains caused by water conservation measures meant that the firefighters had to bring in two water tankers to supplement their supply.
"We had to bring in two water tankers to supplement supply. It is an increasing problem we are having, particularly at large fires," said the officer.
"Ever since water shortages and curtailments began we have had to have water tankers stocked up and ready to go."
Gardai took over the scene at around 2.30am this morning after the fire was brought under control, and have preserved the site pending a technical examination.
The cause of the blaze is not yet known. Today the gutted remains of the Chartbusters store stood out in the middle of the small shopping complex, its roof collapsed and all internal walls gone.