Renowned Royal Hotel demolished in blaze

A landmark building in Roscommon town, O’Gara’s Royal Hotel, was gutted by a major fire on Friday last. Fortunately, the hotel building was evacuated and no lives were lost or injuries recorded as a result of the blaze.   The alarm was raised at 9.05 am by a passer-by who saw smoke emanating from a roof at the back of the hotel. Gardaí and the fire service were quickly on the scene. Garda Damien Connaughton met with members of staff and a total of eight people were evacuated within minutes of the alarm being raised.    Superintendent Willie Gallagher this week paid tribute to the quick actions of Garda Connaughton in ensuring that all residents were quickly evacuated. Gardaí believe that the fire started in the ballroom area of the hotel and are not treating the fire as suspicious. Castle Street was closed to vehicular traffic until Sunday evening, at which stage the hotel building was demolished. Fears were expressed that the fire would spread to adjacent buildings and at one stage it was feared that Mac’s pub would be burnt, but the fire was brought under control before any substantial damage was done to the pub premises.    Other adjacent buildings, including the former VRT office, Trikon Travel and Paddy Powers, were undamaged by the fire and Rockford’s disco was also undamaged and was re-opened for business on Saturday night. Following a 999 call, the fire services in Roscommon and Lanesboro were alerted. When Roscommon Fire Service reached the scene ten minutes after being notified, the fire was already through the roof and the battle began to stop it spreading to adjacent buildings. Fire services in Strokestown and Elphin were also alerted and later on Saturday evening fire service personnel in Castlerea relieved existing personnel. By noon on Friday the fire was brought under control. Over 50 firefighters took part in the task. However, the fire service remained at the scene damping down the fire. At one stage it was reported that a fire was underway in The Coachman’s a pub and nightclub across the road from the Royal Hotel and fire service personnel checked that building room by room, but discovered no fire. Two female residents of Castle Street were evacuated as a result of the fire and spent Friday night with friends and relations until fire service personnel were satisfied that there was no threat from the fire. Castle Street was closed from Friday to Sunday at 4 pm as a result of the fire and the subsequent demolition of the building.