Senior officer quizzed over firefighters' blaze deaths

Detectives were tonight continuing to question a senior fire officer over his handling of a blaze which claimed the lives of two of his men.

Detectives were tonight continuing to question a senior fire officer over his handling of a blaze which claimed the lives of two of his men.

Retained firefighters Mark O’Shaughnessy, 26, and Brian Murray, 46, were killed in the blaze which ripped through a disused factory in Bray, Co Wicklow, in September 2007.

It is understood the man, in his 50s, was arrested after officers arranged to interview him under caution.

He was detained under Section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act on suspicion of endangerment and brought to Bray garda station for questioning under a separate holding charge, allowing officers to quiz him for up to 24 hours.

The families of the two firefighters have been fighting for reform of the fire services in the east coast county since the men’s deaths.

They believe there was a delay in responding to the blaze as it was out of control by the time the two men arrived on scene.

Mr Murray, a 10-year veteran of Bray’s retained fire service, had warned superiors just three weeks earlier of dangerous practices in the fire service.

He wrote to the county’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Joanne O’Connor, after office workers were asked to check a blaze themselves before firefighters were called out.

The man is the third person to be questioned over the deaths.

A woman, also believed to be a member of the fire service, was arrested in October, while a man in his 40s was detained in September.

Both were released without charge.

An inquest into the men’s deaths opened in November last year at Dublin County Coroner’s Court and was adjourned until this March to allow the garda inquiry to continue.

A plaque to commemorate the two firemen was unveiled at Bray Fire Station in September.

Large numbers attended the men’s funerals, including Government Ministers and firefighters from throughout Ireland and abroad.

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