A SUSPECTED arson attack at a popular Limerick crash repair business has been condemned by local public representatives.
The blaze - at James Slater crash repairs, Thomondgate - broke out at around 5.30am this Friday - a number of hours after a parked car was set alight nearby.
Three units of Limerick Fire and Rescue attended the scene of the fire at the garage for more than three hours and crews returned on two further occasions later in the day.
The business premises, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, has been completely gutted along with a number of vehicles which were inside at the time. There are no reports of any injuries.
"People are very very upset, there was a very very serious fire here last night and James Slater lost his full business. He has been here for over 40 years, he has been a mainstay of the community around here, he would do anything for you - he would stand on his head for you," said Cllr John Costelloe.
"There are some serious questions to be asked as to why this happened - there were two fires here and James lost his business as well - it's not good enough and people are living in fear around here," he added.
Cllr Conor Sheehan has also condemned what happened. “This is such a despicable act and my thoughts are with the Slaters and the community in Thomondgate. We are incredibly fortunate that nobody was killed or seriously injured and other nearby buildings were not destroyed in this fire. This is a deliberate wanton act of destruction and an attack on the people and community of Thomondgate," he said.
"We need to see action from the gardaí to catch the perpetrator and ensure that they are brought before the courts and a conviction is secured as soon as possible. I would also hope that the Council will be able to help the Slaters secure an alternative temporary premises until they can reopen safely in Thomondgate," he added.
A garda spokesperson confirmed that both fires are being investigated and that the results of technical and forensic examinations will determine the nature of the investigation.
"At around 1.30am, Gardaí received a report of a car on fire at Browns Quay. At around 5.30am Gardaí then received a report of a fire at a business close by. A significant amount of damage was caused to the building as a result of the fire. Gardaí and fire services attended both scenes and a technical examination has since been completed. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing," he said.
"Gardaí are appealing for anyone who was in the Browns Quay area between 1am and 6am, particularly drivers with dash cam footage, to contact Mayorstone Park garda station on 061-456980," he added.
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