Families could be without homes for up to two weeks

By Aura McMenamin

RESIDENTS evacuated during Monday’s underground fire in a Tallaght apartment complex could be out of their homes for up to two weeks, after the blaze “completely destroyed” electrical cables and melted water and sewerage pipes.

A fire broke out in the underground car park in New Bancroft Hall on Main Street before 11pm on Monday with 85 apartments being evacuated.

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Eight units from Dublin Fire Brigade dealt with the blaze which saw two cars and a van destroyed by the blaze and the gas main also set alight.

The apartment complex has been without electricity, heat and water since the late-night blaze, which has forced residents to find alternative accommodation with friends and family or in local hotels.

While some residents have expressed concerns that the fire may have been started deliberately, the cause of the blaze has not yet been confirmed.

A Garda source told The Echo: “A forensic examination has been carried out and investigations are ongoing.

“We are checking through CCTV and at this stage there is no confirmation as to whether this fire was deliberate or accidental.“

The Echo met with a number of residents this week who expressed frustration over the incident and the pressure that has been placed on them to pay for any hotel accommodation upfront.

When contacted by The Echo, Sky Property Management which runs the complex, confirmed that all residents are covered for temporary accommodation, with “assured settlements” being made at the end of the claim process.

Expectations were high among residents that the complex would be back open within the next five days.

However, in a statement to The Echo, the management company said it was unlikely that all services would be restored by Monday, with essential service providers doing their “utmost to resolve [the situation] within a reasonable timeframe”.

The statement added: “With regard to this incident be assured that all is being done to progress matters.

“The incident is both unfortunate and inconvenient to all, however residents and all stakeholders have been without exception hugely co-operative and helpful throughout.”

In a letter issued to residents on Wednesday by the management company, which was seen by The Echo, the company detailed the “enormous damage to the infrastructure of the development”.

According to the letter, the electrical cables from the ESB substation to all blocks were completely destroyed and have to be replaced, while the mains water pipe and sewerage pipes were melted.

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