Fire damages Cork warehouse


THE OWNER OF the country’s biggest pallet-manufacturing business last night expressed confidence that the firm would be able to continue to meet its orders after a fire damaged its warehouse operations.

Seán Lehane, managing director of Mid-Cork Pallets which employs 80 people, said the company had been fortunate its manufacturing plant had not been damaged when fire broke out at its operation at Clondrohid near Macroom, Co Cork. He said there will be no lay-offs at the plant.

“We were very lucky – no one was injured and the fire was contained in the warehousing area and the machines were undamaged, so we’ll be able to continue production to meet our orders,” said Mr Lehane.

The blaze broke out at the warehouse section at about 7.40am yesterday and five units of the fire service from Cork and Kerry spent several hours bringing the blaze under control.

Firefighters from Macroom were joined by units from Millstreet, Bandon, Ballincollig and Killarney, while a unit from Bantry was prevented from getting to the scene by icy roads.

“There were flames shooting up when I got down here but there wasn’t time to get emotional about it, there was just too much to get done,” said Mr Lehane, who set up the business in 1977.

He confirmed that stock and packaging had been damaged but it was too early to put a figure on the amount of damage caused. The company’s suppliers and its competitors had been hugely supportive, offering to assist in whatever way they could, while Lucey Transport Logistics in Millstreet had offered warehousing, he said.

“Sawmills have been offering to help as have some of our competitors and the local community here in Clondrohid were great as well, bringing us sandwiches and tea – people have been amazing.”

As the largest pallet manufacturer in the country, Mid-Cork Pallets produces about two million pallets a year and also has an operation in Dunboyne, Co Meath, which will help meet its orders.

Meanwhile, gardaí under Supt Liam Horgan of Macroom Garda Station have begun an investigation into the cause of the blaze and officers were last night studying CCTV footage from the plant.

Garda technical experts will today begin an examination of the scene, but Supt Horgan said there was nothing at this stage to suggest the fire was started maliciously.