Fire brigade delay is strongly denied
CLAIMS that it took eight phone calls to persuade the fire brigade to answer a call in Wicklow have been strongly denied by the county council.
The niece of Kathleen O’Brien, whose home at Seacrest was gutted in a blaze on Thursday night, went on to claim that it took between half- and three-quarters-of-an-hour for fire fighters to arrive at the scene.
But County Secretary Brian Doyle said that while, in fact, there were twenty calls received reporting the fire, the brigade had responded immediately to the first one.
‘ The first call was at 8.11 p.m. from a child and we alerted the guys here at 8.12 p.m. They left the station at 8.18 p.m. and arrived at 8.21 p.m.,’ he said, adding that in the interim period, a further nineteen calls were logged at the control station in Bray.
Mr Doyle went on to stress that all calls made to the fire service are taped to ensure there is a record in the event of questions being raised.
A heartbroken Kathleen O’Brien, sitting, Friday morning, on the steps of the shell tha was her home of sixteen years, pointed to two small boxes of items, all she had managed to salvage from the building. It was the second tragedy to befall her in less than a year.
‘My mother died eight months ago,’ she said, adding that in the blaze, she lost all mementoes of her mother, as well as of a brother who died ten years ago.
‘Everything of value is gone. Photographs, everything. I have nothing only what I have on me,’ she said.
Among the items completely destroyed was a treasured tea set, worth over £400, which a relative had bought as a present in India.
‘I was only after doing up the kitchen and the diningroom and two of the bedrooms,’ Miss O’Brien said. ‘I had a new carpet, bought two weeks ago, and it was still in a roll. I hadn’t even put it down.’
There was no one in the house when the fire started.
‘I was over in my brother’s house when this young fellow came in and said there ws smoke coming out of my house,’ Miss O’Brien recalled.
She ran home, opened the front door and was immediately greeted by flames which appeared to be coming from the dining room. She closed the door, but within minutes, the flames had engulfed the house.