A fire broke out this morning at around 2am in Tom Kelly Flats, Charlemont Street, leaving many people trapped inside their homes.
Residents in the 3rd – Block were woken to the yells of “Fire!” by a concerned neighbour in the adjacent block, as the blaze quickly engulfed the main hall and stairway.
Stacks of pallets had been stored there last night by local youths in preparation for Halloween celebrations. The pallets were then set alight by person(s) unknown, creating a substantial blaze and cutting off all access to the block.
From the time a distress call was made to the fire service, it was a full 25 minutes before they reached the trapped residents inside the block of flats. Later on the fire Chief stated, it would have taking longer to reach the trapped residents if any more of the pallets inside had also caught fire.
Currently, there are no fire exits in any of the blocks. If the fire had in any way been more significant, the residents, some of whom were young children, had absolutely no means of escaping its path, and no other option than to sit it out and wait for the fire service to come to their aid.
This is highly unacceptable!
Having to solely rely on how quickly the fire service can reach you within a giving time is dicing with death.
Organising an escape route is an essential and basic planning procedure in reducing the risk of injury by fire. The residents of Tom Kelly Flats do not have this basic requirement.
This isn’t the first time fire has caused dangerous and unsafe conditions for the residents living here. In the early 80’s, the roof from the same block of flats was set ablaze, causing extensive damage allegedly responsible for many of the problems existing now in the block such as a leaky roof, and mould growth.
Thankfully this time a near and potential disaster was narrowly avoided, and nobody was seriously hurt!