Gardaí in Mullingar are still investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed three cars, a tank of diesel, and which forced the closure of the west side of the town for a number of hours on Monday afternoon.
Yesterday (Thursday ) a Garda source said that at this stage it didn’t seem to be a suspicious fire, but that because of the size of it, and the scope of the damage, “that’s not to say they [the investigating team] won’t come up with something later”.
According to the fire service, the blaze began a little after 2pm at the back of Grand Parade where a number of light industrial units are situated, however the spokesman could not publicly speculate in which one it may have started, or how it started, on account of the ongoing investigation by the Garda Scenes of Crime Unit.
“There seemed to have been an explosion before the brigade arrived. Three cars were destroyed, and a tank of diesel was breached,” he said.
It took two units from the Mullingar station, and one from Kilbeggan two hours to bring the fire under control, and it “was after eight before they shut up shop”.
“It was a very big fire, and a very smoky fire, and could be seen from well out the Castlepollard road. It was a fairly protracted incident, but it looked far worse than it was,” he continued.
“A major fear for us was pollution,” he said, referring to the breach of the diesel tank and the problems that might have resulted had it run off into the new treatment plant in Clonmore, but that by engaging in some “joined up thinking” in a multi-agency approach “it created no problem”.
“Everybody did their job,” he said.
A Marks & Spencer spokesperson commented, “Due to an incident last Monday afternoon, all retail units in the Fairgreen Shopping Centre were evacuated, including Marks & Spencer. The health and safety of our customers and staff was our top priority, and we worked closely with the Gardaí to ensure that evacuation procedures were put into immediate effect. No one was injured and we are continuing to liaise with the Gardaí on their investigation into the incident.”
Because of the smoke, the store evacuated at 2.30pm but was able to re-open at 4.45pm that afternoon.