Nine brigades fought fire at Inch cream­ery

De­cem­ber 1981

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS -

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.

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