Gardaí investigating whether fire in Cork was started deliberately

Gardaí investigating whether fire in Cork was started deliberately

Garda forensic investigators have examined the site of a significant fire at the Sunbeam Industrial Estate in Cork to see if the blaze was started deliberately.

Firefighters from across Cork fought the fire at the former Sunbeam Industrial Estate on Cork’s northside from when the alarm was first raised at around 5.30pm on Sunday until Monday morning, when it was finally brought under control.

It is not yet known if the fire was the result of arson. A garda spokesman confirmed: “The cause of the fire is yet to be established and investigations are ongoing."

While crews from Ballyvolane initially responded to the call and fought the fire on rotation, the situation escalated and backup was summoned from Anglesea Street and Ballincollig stations.

At its peak, eight units including a water tanker, four pumps, two aerial platforms and a command unit were on the scene. The platforms alone each delivered more than 2,000 litres of water a minute to the fire, according to Cork City Fire Brigade.

Victor Shine, Second Officer at Cork City Fire Brigade said the situation was all the more difficult to manage given the conditions of the disused building, and that the site had been the location of a number of fires before.

Some of the roof had collapsed and steel girders were twisted due to high temperatures from the fire. Conditions, therefore, were “extremely dangerous,” he said, noting that two firefighters in Belgium were recently killed when trapped in a derelict building that collapsed as they fought a fire.

It was a highly risky operation, initially we had two firefighters go in to carry out reconnaissance to make sure there was no one inside, when we were satisfied the building was empty they were withdrawn

The units adopted a defensive mode of tackling the fire, fighting the blaze from the outside and containing it from spreading any further rather than entering the building and attempting to extinguish it from within.

The units left the site at around noon yesterday and officials returned to carry out an inspection at 4.30pm to ensure no pockets remained.

The 13 residents and two staff at an adjacent HSE facility were evacuated as a precaution on Sunday night and housed at another HSE location. They were expected to return to the facility yesterday.

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