A NUMBER of people including a security guard were treated for smoke inhalation but nobody was seriously injured after a fire broke out on the fourth floor of one of Limerick's biggest apartment blocks on Sunday night.
Gardai at Henry Street investigating the blaze at Mount Kennett Place do not believe it was started maliciously.
Fire fighters and gardai evacuated up to 50 apartments in one section of the complex after the fire was reported by security at around 8.40pm.
Holding her infant son Noel in her arms, Celine Murray said: "I didn't know what was going on, there was loud banging on the door and I thought it must have been the neighbours. But it was the gardai saying 'Everybody out, there's a fire in the building. Just go now and don't bring anything with you.' I didn't even have shoes on me".
Her neighbour Jessica Ryan was "singing karaoke when I heard the banging on the door".
Her door had to be broken down by gardai as her boyfriend had gone into town with their only set of keys. Gardai had to break down other doors as they weren't sure which apartments were occupied.
A man living a couple of doors down from where the fire started described feeling his way through thick black smoke to the stairwell.
On a busy night for the Fire Service, units from Limerick and Shannon, comprising around 20 personnel in total attended the scene, some called straight from a fire in Meelick.
Emergency crews were initially told the fire had broken out in an apartment two doors down from where it had actually occurred.
"We were not sure initially if the apartment was occupied but it turned out that it wasn't. The lads got it under control quickly and the ambulance was stood down after a number of people were checked out for smoke inhalation," Mr Kearns said.
As the fire was being extinguished, 10 fire fighters and gardai set about evacuating up to 50 apartments.
Mr Kearns said there was no risk of the fire spreading to other sections of the apartment complex.
"It was obviously a high priority incident for us given the high number of occupants there but everything went as planned and fortunately nobody was injured," Mr Kearns said.