Gardaí conduct searches in Cork as part of arson attack probe

Gardaí conduct searches in Cork as part of arson attack probe
Dramatic CCTV images show suspect setting fire under petrol pump fuel lines at the Tria Express petrol station in Blarney, Co Cork

Gardaí investigating an arson attack on a filling station in Cork searched a house, its garden and nearby woodland today.

The searches of property in the Riverview estate between Blarney and Tower were mounted on foot of search warrants secured earlier as part of the probe into Sunday’s attack on the Tria Express filling station facing the village square in Blarney.

A suspect on a bike, wearing white painting-style protective overalls and a yellow hi-viz vest, was captured on CCTV footage just before 7am on Sunday lighting a fire under fuel pump hoses on the forecourt of the filling station. It was closed at the time. The suspect left the scene on a bike.

An estimated 30,000 litres of diesel were being stored in underground tanks, close to kerosene and other flammable materials. A tyre depot is nearby, as are private homes, a church and several local businesses.

The fire burned under the fuel hoses for 17-minutes when two gardaí on patrol in a garda car drove past and spotted smoke.

CCTV footage shows a garda jumping from the car, grabbing a fire extinguisher from the boot and tackling the blaze. A source said he helped avert a potentially “catastrophic explosion”.

The garda, who has been hailed for his actions, has declined to be named publicly.

But Damian Boylan, a member of Blarney Chamber of Commerce, praised his bravery: “He ran towards something most of us would have run away from. He did his job. He reacted immediately. All credit is due to the man."

Senior gardaí are treating the arson incident very seriously and are devoting significant resources to the investigation. But they declined to comment on any possible motive.

However, it is understood that the main suspect for Sunday’s arson attack is suspected of involvement in a firebomb attack which destroyed three cars in nearby Whitechurch over Christmas.

Gardaí say their investigation into Sunday’s incident is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

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