by David Raleigh
Firefighters in Limerick have prevented a fire spreading through Roches Feeds, one of Ireland's largest manufacturer of animal feeds.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight last night, in a storage tank at the company's €3m manufacturing plant, on the Dock Road.
Three units attached to Limerick City and County Fire & Rescue Service, supported by one unit from Shannon Fire Service, responded to the scene.
Fire crews spent five hours dealing with the fire.
"A storage tank caught fire. Luckily it was away from the main mill. It had the potential to spread. Firefighters were there for five hours," said a reliable source.
While the cause of the blaze is "unknown", it's being treated as accidental.
Firefighters "had to make sure that it hadn't spread before declaring it safe at 5am", the source added.
The company, which delivers feed to 7,000 customers, is owned and run by fourth generation of the Roche family specialising in the manufacture of animal feed for the Irish market.
One of the last family owned feed mills in the country, it started out producing 21,000 tonnes per annum in 1994 and employing 18 staff, to employing 40 staff and manufacturing in excess of 150,000 tonnes per annum.