GARDAÍ are still at the scene of a large fire on the outskirts of Limerick City which destroyed a number of business premises last night and left 15 jobs in peril.
The fire broke out shortly after 7pm at a commercial premises in Fenton’s Yard, Raheen, off the R526 Limerick to Patrickswell road.
The building was almost completely gutted in the inferno which also claimed children’s Christmas presents that had been stored in one of the business units.
Over a dozen fire engines and water tankers from Limerick City and County Fire Service and Rathkeale Fire Service, fought the blaze for four hours.
Gardaí said there were no injuries.
The owners of a car trading sales business based in the yard said they were not impacted by the blaze.
Patrick O’Driscoll and Denis McMahon, co-owners of Empire Trade Car Sales, said they remained open for business.
Mr McMahon said he noticed the fire taking hold when he glanced at a CCTV security feed at his home.
“I just looked at the camera, I don’t know what I looked at it, and I could see the premises was gone up in flames. I came in straight away and I could see the flames coming through he roof. It is just a big mess,” he said.
“I feel sorry for the businesses affected by it. We’ll help them as much as we can. We’re all in the one yard, so anything we can do to help we will.”
Mr O’Driscoll said when he arrived at the site around 8pm Tuesday, “everywhere was up in flames.
“The fire brigade and Gardaí were here, our premises was okay. We came in to check that and help out, but there was nothing we could do really, it was just engulfed, up in flames.
“It’s terrible, about fifteen jobs gone. Fifteen people out of work at Christmas time. It’s hard,” he added.
Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea visited the site earlier today and pledged to support any workers impacted by the fire.
“I just came out here to meet the lads because I know some of them and if they have any problems with social welfare or anything of that nature over the Christmas, I’ll be available to help them out.
“They are very hard-working people, and I want to give credit to Empire Trade Car Sales for providing facilities to one of the businesses affected so they can continue on.
“I’ve walked around it and it’s a very grim sight. It’ll take a lot to put it back together again, but hopefully the businesses here will find some way to continue trading until the place is restored.”
A Garda spokesman said that the scene is currently being preserved pending forensic examination later today.