Fire raises asbestos fears in town

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are examining the scene of a fire at a well-known warehouse in Mayo, as fears grow that its roof may have contained asbestos.

A number of pedestrian roads were cordoned off yesterday and vehicle access restricted in the centre of Ballina after Tuffy’s Cash and Carry went on fire at about midnight on Tuesday. Gardaí and fire brigade officials were still wearing protective masks as a precaution yesterday afternoon as the building was still smouldering.

A children’s sports camp, due to be held at the nearby Ballina Stephenite’s pitch, was transferred indoors, on the advice of gardaí.

The club’s child and community officer, Eanna Casey, said the GAA club “did not want to take any risks, due to the way the wind was blowing”.

By late evening, much of the smoke had subsided. It is not known what caused the fire, but it’s not believed that it was started maliciously.

Three units of the fire brigade, from Ballina, Enniscrone and Cross-molina, attended the blaze.

A spokesperson for the fire service in Mayo said it’s believed the fire began at the back of the building in a storage area, though investigations were continuing.

The rear of the building was extensively damaged. It’s believed the fire was accelerated due to the presence of items such as briquettes, coal and firelighters.

Tuffy’s Cash and Carry employs 30 people. It is expected to continue to trade as normal, having found another premises from which to operate


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