independent

Monday 22 October 2018

'Like an apocalypse'

Sunday's blaze was the worst ever witnessed by staff at local businesses

Surveying the extensive damage to the dunes on Sunday afternoon
Surveying the extensive damage to the dunes on Sunday afternoon

Maria Pepper

Staff at the Winning Post and Surf Shack in Curracloe are well used to seeing small fires in the dunes during the summer but Sunday's blaze was the worst they have ever witnessed.

As the fire came within a hundred yards of the popular premises at its height, the Murphy family who own the two businesses started spraying around the building into the car park in an attempt to form a protective barrier.

Jack Tim Murphy who runs the Surf Shack said he believed they were the first to telephone the fire service shortly after 10.30am. 'We had a group of kids going out to surf and as we walked back to the shop, we noticed a small plume of smoke about 500 metres down in the dunes', he said.

'It's not unusual to have small fires during the summer especially in a dry spell like this which brings more people to the beach but they're usually contained and easy to put out'.

'When we rang the fire brigade, we stressed the importance of them getting here quickly. They arrived on the scene at 11.30am but couldn't access the area because the barrier into the (spill-over) car park was locked. I think the Council has the key.'

'There was a delay, that's why the fire got to the stage it did. The fire fighters were on the dunes at 11.30 am beating it back with shovels but they couldn't get the water up. It was just a few factors like that delayed them. Once they managed to get the water up, it all worked grand and the beach evacuation was very efficient and very calm', said Jack Tim.

'It was so close. We had hoses out and we were spraying around the whole building for about 20 ft out. It got to about 100 yards from us. We see quite a lot of fires during the summer but never of the violence or speed of this'.

'At one stage, the whole place was covered in a white smoke, You couldn't see anything. It was like an apocalypse'

'There are still smaller fires popping up today (Monday) and the fire brigade is coming and going all day'.

Wexford People

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