The fire at the former orphanage and Magdalene laundry in Cork is now “under control”, Garda Superintendent Con Cadogan said this morning.
Speaking at the scene of the Cork fire, Superintendent Cadogan also said that there was “nobody in the building as far as we know”.
Emergency services rushed to the scene of the former Good Shepherd Convent in Sunday's Well on the north side of the city this morning.
“It was a pretty large fire,” said Superintendent Cadogan.
“We got the call this morning at 7.30, Cork City Fire Services responded, with three fire tenders here.
“The fire is currently under control here. They will be here for some time yet.”
It is currently thought there was nobody in the building at the time of the blaze.
“[There was] nobody in the building as far as we know,” said Superintendent Cadogan.
“Obviously we’re waiting for a final analysis to be carried out by the Cork City Fire Brigade once the fire is fully put out, and obviously they’ll carry out an analysis of the building so we’ll wait until then to see.”
The former convent had been bought by a developer with plans to develop 200 apartments - but had been unoccupied for a number of years.
It served as an orphanage and Magdalene laundry for young women up until the 1970s.
Superintendent Cadogan said that it is the second fire at the former convent in recent years.
“Half the building had been burnt previously a number of years ago,” he said.
“The other half was seen smouldering this morning at 7.30 and obviously with the wind this morning and the weather conditions, the fire went through the rest of the building pretty quickly.”
When asked about the cause of the fire, he said: “It’s difficult to tell at this stage, we’ll await a report from the Fire Service.
“However, we would appeal for witnesses, or anybody who did see any suspicious activity, there in the last 24 hours to make contact with us at the Gurranabraher garda station [021 439 5540].