Nine brigades fought fire at Inch creamery
Damage which could be as high as £250,000 was caused by a fire which destroyed a large store and its contents at the South Eastern Farmers’ Co- Op at Inch near Gorey on Thursday morning last. Tons of sugar and powered milk, along with a large quantity of yogurt cups, were destroyed in the blaze.
Damage was also caused to the adjoining officers, but staff had time to remove all the files and records. No damage was caused to the Yoplait yogurt-making plant which adjoins the offices, and production of yogurt has not been affected.
Nine Fire Brigade units, from Arklow, Gorey, Wexford, Wicklow, Enniscorthy, and Rathdrum, fought the blaze and brought it under control after a number of hours. Two units from Gorey and Arklow then continued to stand by throughout most of the day, damping down the debris of the store and its contents.
The alarm was raised by an employee of the Co- Op, Mr Jim Flynn, Sean O’Byrne Park, Gorey, who spotted smoke coming from under the door of the sugar store at about 10.15 a.m. Workers at the Co- Op, known locally as Inch Creamery, fought the blaze with fire extinguishers and their own water supply pending the arrival of the fire brigades.
Units from Arklow and Gorey, under Station Officers Ml. O’Neill and Tom Doyle, respectively, were on the scene within a few minutes, followed quickly by the other units. To get an adequate supply of water, they had to lay hose to a river about a quarter-of-a-mile away.
They managed to confine the fire to the sugar store. They were helped in their efforts by Mr. Joe Breen, formerly of “The Rock” and now living in Gorey, who was driving an excavator for his employers, John McDonald Plant Hire, Knockavotha, Gorey.
Mr. Breen was working the excavator on an extension to another part of the Inch Creamery complex when the fire broke out. Despite the smoke and the intense heat, Mr. Breen managed to get the excavator close enough to the burning store to pull it down and isolate it from the offices. His efforts undoubtedly played a major role in preventing the fire from spreading and causing what would have been disastrous results.
Aside from the efforts of all the fire-fighting personnel involved, the 100 strong workforce of the Co- Op, and others who joined in, helped to prevent the fire from spreading to other nearby builldings and a liquid gas tank.
Mr. Tim Stokes, Area Manager of the South-Eastern Farmers’ Co- Op, said on Friday last that it was very difficult to estimate the full extent of the damage caused by the fire, but confirmed that it was ‘consideable’. Thanks to the efforts of everyone, the fire was not as serious as it might have been though, and the production of Yoplait yogurt was not affected, he said. Business in the other sections of the Co- Op was not affected either, he added.