Sparks from door welding led to fire that claimed two lives, trial hears

Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy died fighting blaze at disused ink factory


Sparks from the welding of a door on a derelict building caused the fire that led to the deaths of two Wicklow firefighters, a trial has heard.

Brian Murray (46) and Mark O’Shaughnessy (26) died fighting a blaze at a disused ink factory at Adelaide Villas in Bray on September 26th, 2007.

Wicklow County Council, which runs the fire service, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges relating to alleged criminal breaches under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, between September 1st, 2005, and September 26th, 2007.

On day two of the trial, Gareth Nolan told Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, that his aunt was the owner of the derelict building and that she asked him to investigate reports it had been broken into.

He said when he went to the building there was rubbish dumped inside it. He said he decided to weld the door shut to stop people breaking into the building. He said a welder came with him on the morning of the fatal fire.

Mr Nolan agreed with Aileen Donnelly SC, defending, that a technical report into the welding job found it was not carried out in an acceptable manner.

Ms Donnelly said that sparks from welding can scatter horizontally as far as 11 metres and set fire to combustible material. Mr Nolan agreed that the nearby combustible material was not covered with fire curtains.

The trial continues.