Council asked to ‘see sense’ following Castlerea house fire

Fianna Fáil councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice has urged Roscommon County Council to “see sense” and reopen Castlerea Fire Station following a serious house fire in the town last weekend which left a woman hospitalised.

The woman (80s) managed to escape the blaze at the Harristown property in the early hours of Sunday morning after she was alerted by her smoke alarm before being taken to hospital as crews battled to bring the fire under control.

Roscommon County Council said that fire services from Ballaghaderreen, Ballyhaunis and Roscommon responded ‘without delay’, with the first engine arriving on scene at 12.33 am. Crews eventually brought the fire under control at around 4 am.

Cllr. Fitzmaurice, who tabled a motion at last month’s meeting of the local authority calling for the reopening of Castlerea Fire Station, said the town was being “unfairly treated” and called on the Council executive to reinstate the service which closed in 2017.

“First and foremost, I feel very sorry for the family and wish the woman involved a full and speedy recovery.

“(In raising the motion) last week, I had warned that I had serious concerns that a serious incident would occur,” Cllr Fitzmaurice told the Roscommon People this week.

“The Council executive said we had adequate response times and showed statistics that said Castlerea was at a low risk level but I don’t accept that.

“Castlerea is a large and growing town and many people come here to work in the factories and at the prison. We should have our own fire service here and I would appeal to Roscommon County Council to revisit the situation because I will be raising this again.

“Castlerea is the largest town of its size in Roscommon without this service and I feel that we are being treated unfairly. I would ask the Council to see sense and return the fire service to the town.

“The fire services from Ballaghaderreen and Ballyhaunis attended the fire in Castlerea on Sunday morning, but what happens if there was a second fire in either of those towns at the same time? If an accident can happen it will. I don’t want to see any town lose its fire service,” he said.

In the wake of Sunday morning’s fire, Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy has also called for the reopening of Castlerea’s Fire Station.

Senator Eugene Murphy said he would continue to campaign for a proper service to be established in the town.

“We must re-establish the Castlerea fire service but also ensure the services in Elphin, Strokestown and Ballaghaderreen continue at their present level of service,” he said.

Senator Murphy vowed to work with local councillors and residents on the matter but expressed dismay that he wasn’t invited to a meeting to discuss the issue recently.

“It is important that all Oireachtas members are kept informed and allowed to engage on the issue,” he said.

“I want to assure the local business people who contacted me that I was not made aware of the recent meeting to discuss Castlerea Fire Station but would have been there if invited,” he concluded.

 

What fire service said…

Roscommon Fire Service said a working smoke alarm was “instrumental” in ensuring the safety of the woman evacuated during Sunday’s house fire in Castlerea. 

  “Roscommon Fire Services is pleased to confirm that the operation of a fully functioning alarm system was instrumental in protecting the safety of the occupant of the property in Harristown on Sunday morning,” a statement read.

  “The County Roscommon Fire Service would like to acknowledge the work of fire personnel at the scene who brought the fire under control in an efficient and safe manner”.