Historian calls for action on Cork buildings after devastating fire

Historian calls for action on Cork buildings after devastating fire
St Anne's Building fire. Pic: Kieran Minihane

LOCAL historian Kieran McCarthy has called for something to be done about the “necklace of gorgeous buildings” lining the north-west ridge of the city that are abandoned and derelict.

“It is a national issue,” Cllr McCarthy said,” something needs to be done with these buildings, we need to mind the social history of Cork.” The call to safeguard the old architecture of the city comes after the landmark building St Kevin’s on the Lee Road, was burnt down on Tuesday night.

This is the third iconic building that has gone up in flames in recent years, following similar incidents at the Good Shepherd Convent and Vernon Mount.

The chief fire officer at the scene, Gerry Myers, said the fire was extinguished around 10.30am yesterday morning after fighting the blaze from 8.30pm Tuesday night.

Officer Myers said the City Council, HSE, engineers assessed the building yesterday morning to see if the walls are in danger of collapsing and would meet later in the week to discuss the future of the site.

According to the firefighter, one of the gables collapsed during the fire and two other gables are leaning outwards following the blaze.

Two-thirds of the roof has collapsed and the third, fourth and fifth story has fallen onto the second floor. The western side of the building remained intact.

Officer Myers, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene and he said he saw three youths running away.

Acting Superintendent Brian O’Donovan said the gardaí are investigating the incident and looking for witnesses.

“If anyone has any information we would ask them to contact us on 021 4946200 and it will be treated with confidence.

Inspector O’Donovan said that they have not had a chance to examine the scene yet, as the fire was still smouldering yesterday evening.

Officer Myers said a total of 28 firefighters attended the blaze. “There were eight units including one water tanker from Mallow.” The fire was put out around 1.30-2am.

Cllr McCarthy said that there was a great sadness on Tuesday night down the Lee Fields as members of the public watched the historic building burning in the distance.

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