Two weeks before 19 families will be allowed back into their homes after Dublin flats fire

Two weeks before 19 families will be allowed back into their homes after Dublin flats fire
The electrical box. Picture: Dublin Fire Brigade

It will be two weeks before 19 families will be allowed back into their homes after a fire broke out in an electrics house.

Up to 150 residents in the Marmion Court Flats on Blackhall Street were just minutes away from a serious explosion as the electrical box is housed close to the gas storage unit which feeds all of the flats.

The fire broke out at 9am on Saturday in Marmion Court Flats, Blackhall Street, close to the Light House Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin.

Up to 150 residents living in the three blocks were evacuated within minutes of the fire.

Units from Dublin Fire Brigade were on the scene within minutes ensuring that everyone was evacuated safely from the 50-year-old blocks.

The cause of the fire remains unknown but Dublin City Council officials will be investigating reports from locals that water was seeping into the electrics house.

While residents in two of the blocks were allowed to return to their homes, 19 families, incorporating 60 people, remain homeless three days after the fire due to having no electricity and water issues.

Some of the families had been accommodated at the nearby hotels of the Maldron and Hendrick until today, however, many are still trying to source alternative arrangements.

Mary Kinsella, who has lived in the complex all of her life, and who is involved in the local residents' committee said: “Seven officials from Dublin City Council spent several hours with us. They have told us that it will be two weeks before these families are allowed back into the flats and another four weeks before outside work is completed which really pushing residents to the limit.

I was told by a fireman who attended here on Saturday that we are all lucky to be alive or not seriously injured.

“If they (the fire units) hadn’t arrived in time then we were eight minutes away from the gas supply being ignited due to the fire. There were people running out of the complex in their underwear such was the chaos. If the fire had happened at night-time god knows what could have happened.

"We’ve had desperate problems here and now this is just the last straw. There are so many families left homeless now and many of them have young families.”

In a statement the Council said: “Dublin City Council can confirm that Dublin Fire Brigade attended to a fire at an electrical junction box on Queen Street on Saturday. As a result of the fire electrical power to four blocks at Marmion Court, Queen Street was disrupted.

“Power has since been restored to three of the four blocks. However, Dublin City Council are working with the ESB to restore power to the fourth block which is complex by nature.

“As a result Dublin City Council is currently finding alternative temporary accommodation for a number of families until power is restored to their accommodation.”

Last year the residents claimed they were being forced to catch rats and kill them in an attempt to rid the buildings of the rodents.

Locals said council efforts to stem the rat infestation using poison have not worked.

Dublin City Council said they are aware of Saturday's incident and officials are due at the complex.

Former Lord Mayor of Dublin and local independent councillor Christy Burke met with residents and called for the demolition of the flats.

“These flats need to be demolished and a regeneration project put in place. What happened here could have been a catastrophe. It’s bad enough now that 60 people are left homeless and looking for accommodation.

“Having to help an 85-year-old woman living there find accommodation is just appalling to see. I’m planning on tabling a motion for that to happen and discussions to be held by the Council on this. Sticking plasters used by the Council won’t work anymore.”


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