Carrickmines halting site fire started in kitchen, report finds

Glenamuck Road blaze too intense for survival, says analysis by Dublin Fire Brigade

The fire at the Carrickmines temporary halting site, in which 10 people died last October, was "so developed and intense" by the time fire crews arrived that it would "not permit survival", an unpublished report into the blaze states.

The Dublin Fire Brigade report, extracts of which have been seen by The Irish Times, indicates that the fire started in the kitchen of the unit where those who died – including five children – had been sleeping. It spread rapidly to a second unit.

The 10 who died in the fire on the Glenamuck Road site were: Thomas Connors (25), his wife, Sylvia (27), and three of their children, Jimmy (five), Christy (two) and Mary (five months); Sylvia's brothers Jimmy Lynch (39) and Willy Lynch (25); and Willy's fiancée, Tara Gilbert (27), and their children, Jodie (nine) and Kelsey (four). Ms Gilbert was four months pregnant when she died.

‘Very distressed’

The first 999 call was received at 4.21am on October 10th from a “very distressed” person. The operator found the person difficult to understand, but ascertained the location. Three water tenders, three ambulances, a helicopter, one rescue tender and a district officer were despatched from the


Dún Laoghaire



and Donnybrook stations.

The first crew mobilised at 4.24am, reaching the site at 4.34am. They were told en route that there could be “up to seven children” trapped in the fire.

"The fire was visible to some of the responding officers from the M50 flyover on to Glenamuck Road toward Carrickmines," says the report.

‘Scaled up’

The incident was rapidly “scaled up” and, in all, 35 paramedic firefighters, an assistant chief fire officer and a third officer also attended the fire.

On arrival, the crews “discovered a fire which was already well developed . . . [They] described a fire [in the first unit] which was so developed and intense it would not permit survival of any occupants. Crews immediately set about extinguishing the fire, rendering pre-hospital care to the injured.”

The report says a “young man” approached the crew “carrying a small boy” who was “limp and listless but still breathing”. They were directed to a second cabin on fire, and told “there was a baby inside”.

CPR was performed on them by advanced paramedics and they were removed to Tallaght hospital. The infant, Mary, died later of smoke inhalation.

The surviving members of the family have raised concerns about water supply to the nearest hydrant, just outside the site. However, the report raises no concern about water supply.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times