Judge orders mobile homes to be vacated over fire fears
Court orders 25 adults and children be moved as council concerns fire could spread rapidly from one mobile to another
The scene off Prussia Street this afternoon as notices were posted on the mobile homes. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The High Court has ordered that seven mobile homes occupied by up to 25 adults and children must be immediately vacated and removed from a commercial yard in Dublin due to fire safety fears.
The evidence indicated the situation was “like a bomb about to go off”, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said.
He expressed hope the occupants would not be rendered homeless and would receive assistance.
The court heard the caravans, located at a vehicular parking/car wash yard in Prussia Street, are being used to accommodate a number of individuals and families, including children, who are believed to be from eastern Europe.
The mobile homes are positioned quite close to one another, have electricity cables running into them, gas cylinders outside, waste materials stored nearby and there was evidence people were smoking around them, the court heard.
The council is concerned that fire could spread rapidly from one mobile to another given the flammable nature of their construction and fittings with no means of egress in the event of a fire.
Mr Justice Noonan said he was satisfied to make orders that the caravans be immediately vacated.
“With electricity cables, gas cylinders and people smoking, it is like a bomb about to go off,” the judge remarked.
He said he was making the orders given the extreme risk to life for the unfortunate people living there.
While he was reluctant to put people out on the street, he had been informed the Dublin Region Homeless Executive had been informed and he hoped it would be in a position to look after them.
Conleth Bradley SC, for the Dublin City Council, in response to the judge’s comment it was like a bomb about to go off, said there had been another incident in another council administrative area where there had been terrible loss of life as a result of a fire in a mobile home site.
Mr Bradley said the Prussia Street situation came to light over a week ago. The site was visited by fire officers who swore affidavits outlining their serious concerns about the safety risk to people living there.
Counsel said the mobile homes appeared to be up for sale.
Planning enforcement notices were served as the alleged unauthorised use of the site for residential purposes. Fire officers met the operator of the site, Mr Tibor Tancos, who said he had advertised the mobile homes for sale and would have them vacated within a week. The concern of the officers and the council was so great, however, that it was decided to seek an immediate court order, counsel said.
The proceedings are against Mr Tancos and also against the owner of the site, Mary McGrath, Greenfields House, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Mr Justice Noonan said the case could come back next week and both Mr Tancos and Ms McGrath were in the meantime given liberty to apply to the court in relation to the orders by giving 12 hours notice to the city council.