LIMERICK City Council needs to take control of derelict and vacant houses in Thomondgate after three properties were set alight there in recent days, Labour councillor Tom Shortt has said.
At around 4.15am, “the house quickly became an inferno”, said the councillor, but luckily nobody was in the house at the time.
However, residents in the property next door had to flee their own home as smoke filled their property.
Resident Christy Daly, his partner and two children, had to be evacuated from their house for the night and were taken in by neighbours.
Cllr Shortt, who lives nearby on Brown’s Quay, said that the residents were “shaken by the ferocity of the fire especially as the houses all back onto each other”.
He said that he had urged officials in the housing department of City Hall just last week to take control of these derelict properties.
“Residents are disappointed that the city council developed half of this block and built four apartments and one town house about fifteen years ago but did not finish the job, and instead have allowed older houses that the council owns on the other half of the block to deteriorate dramatically since.”
He said as the properties form an entrance to Thomondgate, “it is time for the council to turn its attention and to deal with a prominent eyesore like this...which is only 50 metres from the Treaty Stone”.
He said the fire service had to return to the area for a second time in twenty four hours at the weekend to deal with a second outbreak.
“People have great affection for that area but it’s really taking a beating at the moment. Some of the properties are being targeted by vandalism and anti-social behaviour, and the council has certain responsibilities to prevent this,” he told the Limerick Chronicle.
The fire brigade confirmed they have spent several hours tackling fires in this area in recent days.