Fortwilliam House gutted

Fortwilliam House gutted

EEjob 23/12/2016

AN ICONIC 19th century Cork house was gutted by fire this morning.

Fire fighters spent hours battling flames which had engulfed Fortwilliam House, on the grounds of the Clayton Hotel Silversprings.

The dramatic fire broke out in the early hours of the morning, with emergency services called to the scene shortly after 4am.

Eight units of the Cork City Fire Brigade, including one water tanker and two platforms responded to the blaze which ripped through the beautiful early nineteenth-century Georgian house, currently used by the hotel for storage.

“The building was well alight when support arrived at 4.20am," Fire Officer Gerry Myers said.

Twenty-seven fire fighters worked to bring the fire under control, the cause of which is still unconfirmed.

“There is no sign of anti-social behaviour or anything like that,” Mr Myers stated.

“We will wait for the Garda Technical Support Unit to arrive and a fire investigation will then begin.” 

There were no injuries reported in the fire, which took place away from the main residential complex. 

Hotel general manager Joe Kennedy expressed his relief that things had not been more serious, and stressed that it will be “business as usual” at the hotel today, which is currently busy with Christmas bookings.

“The fire is on the complex but away from the hotel,” he reiterated.

“There were no evacuations and we are all relieved that the wind was blowing north, away from the hotel. There is no panic about this whole thing, it just unfortunate,” Mr Kennedy said.

“There's no good time for something like this to happen, but from the hotel's perspective, it's business as usual.

Fortwilliam House was built circa 1820, and is listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. 

The house is described as a “detached five-bay two-storey over basement former house”, with “single storey bow-ended wings to east and west, full-height bow containing stairwell and lean-to return with half-dormer attic to north.”

 While additions have been made to the house, namely in the 1970's and 1980's, it is noted as having retained many of its late-Georgian features including dressed stone details and small pane timber sash windows.

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