Up to 30 members of the Cork City Fire Brigade were battling a blaze at Sunbeam Industrial Estate on Redforge Road overnight after a suspected arson incident set the building alight.
Third officer of the Cork City Fire Brigade, Ger Ryan said that the building had been empty for six to eight months and there was no reason for the fire to start.
“We noticed some hoarding that was moved when we first arrived which suggested that people were breaking into the building, we have passed this information onto the Gardaí who are investigating the source of the fire,” Mr Ryan said.
Cork City Fire Brigade’s Third Officer also said that the fire, which was rung in around 5.30pm on Sunday afternoon, was in the middle of the building and was extremely difficult to get to.
“It was a complex firefighting operation," he said. "We had nine units at the scene for over five hours with three hydraulic pumps releasing between 6,500 and 8,000 litres of water per minute onto the blaze.”
Mr Ryan said the blaze was almost brought under control around 7.30pm last night, but the fire suddenly surged from the complicated maze of bone dry derelict buildings that the firefighters could not access from the front of the building.
“Over the years people have built over the original structure blocking off bits that were very difficult to access when the fire took off,” Mr Ryan said.
After the fire spread after 7.30pm, Mr Ryan said that they evacuated 15 people from the public health building attached to the industrial estate.
The Third Officer said the Fire Brigade then worked with the Civil Defence and used two drones to obtain information on where the fire was spreading to within the building.
Mr Ryan said this information was extremely helpful in knowing where to direct their flow of water for optimum impact.
“The drones were a great asset to us and we worked very closely with the Civil Defence in bringing the fire under control.”
This morning two units of the Fire Brigade remain at the scene, extinguishing pockets of fire that are still burning within the building.
Third Officer Ryan said these units are likely to be there until lunchtime today.