A LARGE family home on Limerick’s North Circular Road has been ‘gutted’ following a fire this week.
The house is home to developer Michael Butler, who built the nearby developments in Ashbrook and Bracken Gardens.
Six units of the fire service - including firefighters from both Limerick and Shannon - attended the scene of the fire at the six bedroom Hazelwood House, located across the road from Villiers School.
The emergency services were alerted to the fire just before 7.20am on Tuesday morning and they remained on the scene until lunchtime.
It is understood that Mr Butler and some family members were in the house at the time, but no one suffered any injuries.
The whole roof of the house has been destroyed. It is understood that an electrical fault may be to blame for the blaze, which originated in the converted attic. While there were fears initially that the fire could spread due to high winds, the fire service quickly got it under control.
“We were satisfied with the structure and the separation of the houses around it and that we had enough water to control it,” said Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer Scott Keenan.
“The use of the aerial ladder platforms and the hydraulic platforms gave us the ability to attack the fire from the roof and that gives us good control. So we were satisfied that at no stage was there any danger to the adjoining properties,” he explained.
It was an impressive looking fire but it was taken in charge and put under control very early. We got water on it early and that has contributed to saving most of the structure.
“The school did ask us if there was any to be concerned about by way of smoke emanating from the fire but we reassured them and said that it would pass as the air was quite clear.”
One local resident said the house was “gutted”.
“The whole roof is gone and the first floor is badly damaged. It is unbelievable. ”
The site was formerly owned by Vincent Feeney, who was well known owner of the Imperial Bakery on Sarsfield Street, which is now home to Permanent TSB.
The large detached house, thought to be in the region of 4,500 square feet, was built around 15 years ago and was one of the most impressive on the circle, long held as being among the city’s most exclusive addresses.
Mr Butler built the large housing developments in Ashbrook in the 1970s and 1980s and Bracken Gardens in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. He also built a housing development at Cratloe Keel.
Councillor Joe Crowley, who lives just yards from where the fire broke out, received a text from Villers School, where his son Hugh is studying, warning them of the blaze.
“It is very upsetting for the family, I am sure. It could have been a life threatening situation. We got a text telling us to be very careful coming to school because there was obviously an awful lot of smoke. I could smell it when I was going to work,” he added.