Thursday, July 04, 2019

THE demolition of a fire-damaged building in Kildavin is the subject of an investigation by Carlow County Council.

The council said it was “examining the possibility of taking further action” after a 19th century building was knocked down hours after its roof had been badly damaged by fire.

The owner of the property, Bunclody developer Liam Kelly, believed the damaged property was dangerous when the decision was made to knock the building last Tuesday.

“We felt it was a danger,” he said. “It was unsafe after the fire. An adjoining shed was badly burnt and the fire brigade wanted that pushed in. When that was pushed in, some of the wall fell in. The roof was already very unstable.”

He said he had not sought permission before knocking the property and hopes he has done nothing wrong. The building was not a registered protected building.

He added: “Carlow (county council) have to do what they have to do.”

It’s uncertain what caused the fire last Monday evening (24 June). There was a sudden thunderstorm in Kildavin at around 5pm, shortly before the fire.

“It was either lit in the loft or lightning, I don’t know,” said Mr Kelly.

He added that it was bone-dry inside the roof and it would not be hard for a fire to catch hold.

A garda spokesperson said they are investigating the fire but not currently treating it as suspicious.

What was a landmark in the village is now an eyesore of rubble.

Mr Kelly said he was waiting direction from the council before taking further action.

“We will clean up the site once we are given the all-clear to do so.”

The property in the centre of Kildavin was bought a year ago after lying vacant for almost a decade.

The destroyed building was previously an old shop and pub along with being a home to the Jordan family.

“We hoped to develop it,” said Mr Kelly. “We own the houses above it and we hoped to build the streetscape down around the corner. It’s up to the planning authority when they would look at it.”

Mr Kelly said the building was in very poor condition even before the fire.

“The building was rotten, that’s the long and the short of it. There was no foundation to it.”

Carlow County Council’s head of planning Fiona O’Neill said the local authority is “examining the possibility of taking further action” in relation to matter, but could not comment further due to it being a live matter.

Susan McCarthy lives in a house connected to the ruined property. She had been cooking dinner for her two young children on Monday evening when she got the shock of her life.

“A man knocked on the door and said: ‘Do you know your house is on fire?’”

Susan looked up to see smoke billowing from the adjoining roof.

Thankfully, the fire did not spread to her home and there was no smoke damage either.

“I’m just grateful there was not more damage done,” she said.

Local councillor Charlie Murphy, who was passing through Kildavin at the time, said Carlow fire services had done a great job in bringing the blaze quickly under control.

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By Michael Tracey
Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

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