Bray’s firefighters would never recover from the tragic loss of Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy, said senior assistant chief fire officer Joanne O’Connor.
“All of us here offer our deepest sympathies to the families of Brian and Mark. They are deeply in our thoughts and prayers. If there’s anything we can do to help them, we will gladly do it. There’s a huge sense of shock here.”
It emerged yesterday firemen from New York linked with 9/11 will travel to Ireland for Mr Murray’s funeral. The retained or part-time firefighters died after the roof of the factory on Lower Dargle Road fell in on them. Sparks from a welder are thought to have ignited the blaze in the derelict complex.
Mr O’Shaughnessy, 26, had been a “very enthusiastic” firefighter while Mr Murray, 46, had regularly joked with younger recruits. Mr Murray had 10 years experience fighting fires. The men would be sorely missed, Ms O’Connor added.
“All firemen put themselves in harm’s way everywhere they go to. Nobody ever expects to lose their life. Thankfully in Ireland that’s something that happens very rarely. But it makes it all the more tragic when it does happen.
“We just can’t believe it’s happened here to us in our brigade,” she said.
Bray Fire Station gets 250 to 350 calls a year and is one of dozens of towns nationwide relying on retained fighters.
The senior Bray officer stressed it was a huge commitment working as a retained firefighter.
“They have to stay within the town area at all times, there’s huge commitments on their time.
“They have to do an awful lot of training which would be in the evening, they’re called up at any hour of the day or night and many of them have to still get up the next morning and go to their day job.
“It has a huge effect on family life,” said Ms O’Connor.