Gardaí are treating as suspicious, a serious fire in Inchicore, Dublin 8 which left a woman and her three children in hospital.
It is understood the pattern of the scortch marks on the walls by the front door led gardaí to believe the incident on Monday night may not have been an accident.
The woman, who is in her early 30s, is in a critical condition at St James Hospital. One of the children, a boy (8) is also in a critical condition after the fire, which happened at Tyrone Place flats on Thomas Davis Street.
The two other children, a 7-year old girl and a 13-year old boy, are receiving treatment in hospital.
The family of four was rescued from the back balcony of their first floor apartment after the fire broke out near the front door, blocking the only exit. The flats are Dublin City Council (DCC) social housing units.
Neighbour John Kearns said the family was “all covered in smoke, all black” when emergency services took them to safety.
Mr Kearns, who lives on the ground floor directly below the family’s flat, said he heard one of the children screaming at around 11pm on Monday night. “It was terrifying, the screaming and the crying. In minutes the smoke was pumping out the window”.
Fire services, with the help of neighbours, rescued the eldest boy from the burning flat first, followed by the rest of the family. “The kids were limp in their [emergency services] hands. The next door neighbour was trapped in her bed as well because of the smoke, she couldn’t get out her front door, and she was gotten out by the fire brigade” Mr Kearns said.
Neighbours on the first floor reported hearing a large bang, followed by several loud popping sounds as the fuse box by the front door caught fire.
Gardaí were monitoring the scene from early Tuesday morning, and a spokesman said a technical team arrived to inspect the flat on Tuesday afternoon.
The acting Dublin chief fire officer said the Tyrone Place flats and similar social housing complexes in the city “are generally in compliance with current fire safety standards”.
John Kearns has been living in the estate since Christmas, his apartment was recently refurbished, but the first floor where the fire occurred was believed to have an older interior.
Mr Kearns requires a wheelchair and said if a fire broke out he would “have no way of getting out in the wheelchair. Upstairs they have a balcony, but on the ground floor we’re sealed in. We’ve no back exit, it’s very scary.”
Local Sinn Féin Cllr Daithí Doolan said he had “reservations about the conditions of many of our older council flats” like the Tyrone Place development across the city.
“There are problems with dampness, and other issues with fire safety”, such as the lack of fire exits he said.
“I don’t think we would be housing people in some of these complexes if it wasn’t for the wider housing crisis” Cllr Doolan said.