Potential fire trap flats ‘are guarded 24/7’

A potential fire trap apartment block in Dublin has been patrolled 24/7 by fire marshals for over six months following the discovery of a major flaw in the alarm system, according to the building’s management company.

Potential fire trap flats ‘are guarded 24/7’

However, sources very familiar with the apartment block have informed the Irish Examiner that they have never seen any fire marshals.

The management company is claiming that the marshals were deployed to Longboat Quay, which includes two six-storey blocks of apartments on Sir John Rogerson Quay, in order to avoid evacuation of residents once the fire alarm shortcomings were discovered.

Longboat Quay was built in 2006 by Michael McNamara & Sons, the company owned by developer Bernard McNamara. In June 2014, it came to the notice of management that the fire alarm system had only been partially completed, rendering the two buildings as potential fire traps.

Remedial works to install a proper system were commenced in late October, and are due to finish next month. Following queries to the management company about the works and fire threat, a response was given by a public relations firm which stated that a programme of action was decided on once the fire alarm problem was discovered.

“While that programme was ongoing, the project team agreed to deploy fire marshals in the building which avoided the necessity for residents to leave the building,” said the PR firm.

A spokesman said that two marshals were “patrolling the common area and stairwell in eight-hour shifts”. This would require at least 12 marshals working seven-day weeks. Yet, according to sources familiar with the building, there has been no sighting of this large group of fire professionals.

“Never heard of that before,” one source said. “I certainly didn’t see anyone over the last few months, and I was in the building most days.”

On a visit to the building last month, the Irish Examiner spent over an hour in the stairwell and common areas of one of the blocks where the work was not yet complete and did not encounter any fire marshals.

The common area of the buildings is still nominally owned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, which is due to hand it over to the management company.

The spokesman said the cost of the upgrade to the fire alarm system will be borne by a number of interests, including the DDDA, the management firm, and the apartment owners. The cost, if the deployment of fire marshals were included, could be up to €500,000.

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