Garda forensic teams are working to establish the cause of a fire that destroyed a property in Moate, which housed six businesses including the recording studio of musician Tony Allen.
Fire crews spent over four hours battling the blaze, which broke out in Roseland House on Main Street, Moate on Tuesday night this week, destroying the interior of the building and the bulk of its contents. No one was injured in the blaze.
Tony Allen - best known as one half of the Foster and Allen duo - was on the scene on Wednesday to survey the damage to his studio, which was located in the building’s basement.
According to senior assistant chief fire officer, Pat Hunt, the blaze started at the rear of the building and spread to the front. The alarm was raised shortly after 10pm, and a unit of Athlone Fire Brigade was on the scene by 10.25, by which stage the fire was “very well established”.
“We knew straight away that additional help would be required, and a second unit from Athlone and units from Clara and Kilbeggan were called. The fire and visibility were so bad that Gardai couldn’t allow traffic to pass and closed off the centre of the town. It took until between 2am and 3am to get the fire under control. It was a long incident, and the heat and smoke were quite severe, and in the region of 24 personnel were involved in fighting the fire at its peak,” explained Mr Hunt.
“The bulk of the damage was to the rear of the building as the fire started from there. The front is still standing, and most of the side walls, but the roof was extensively damaged, both from the fire and from having to lift off tiles to gain access for hoses.”
Fire crews were able to salvage some of the building’s contents, including confidential files from the solicitor’s office and some disc storage from the recording studio, though its equipment was destroyed.
Roseland House was home to Roseland Recording Studios, a solicitor’s office, a furniture outlet, beauty salon, hairdresser, and print and design business.
Darren Doyle, who ran the ‘Studio 93’ design and print business in Roseland House, said his premises was “completely destroyed” in the fire.
“I got the call around 10pm and went straight there, so I watched it being destroyed before my eyes. There are no clues to why or how it started,” he said.
However, in spite of the fact that he lost all his printing equipment in the fire, Mr Doyle is determined that it will be ‘business as usual’ for Studio 93.
“I am determined to carry on the business and won’t let this slow us down. We lost all our machinery, printing equipment, files and records in the fire; two and a half years of work are all gone. Luckily I had my laptop at home and can still operate without a premises. I am hoping to be in a new premises within a week.”
Moate’s main street was re-opened fully to traffic at 3.30pm on Wednesday.