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Limerick Tragedy Sparks Calls for Modernisation of Fire Services |

Limerick Tragedy Sparks Calls for Modernisation of Fire Services

Limerick, Saturday. In the early hours of Sunday morning, a tragic fire claimed three lives, reigniting discussions within local circles about the adequacy of the city’s fire services. The incident unfolded swiftly, with the fire brigade responding within three minutes of the alarm being raised at the station.

The watchman on duty played a crucial role in alerting the authorities, yet the speed and intensity of the fire proved overwhelming. The premises, acting as a funnel for the flames, made escape impossible for those trapped inside. The scene, described as one of the most rapid and devastating fires in Limerick’s recent history, drew sombre comparisons to a similar tragedy thirty years prior when seven members of a family succumbed to a fire in Denmark Street.

Jim Ledden, a well-respected figure in Limerick, emerged as an unsung hero during the incident. Known for his modesty, Ledden’s long-standing dedication to the Nationalist cause took a courageous turn as he played a pivotal role in the rescue efforts. Assisted by Mr Joseph P. Griffin, Ledden’s efforts saved lives, with particular mention of the daring rescue of Mr Higgins, a senior shop assistant, involving the use of a 26-foot painter’s ladder.

Despite the tragic outcome, praise has been directed towards Ledden’s gallant conduct, highlighting the bravery, endurance, and strength exhibited during the life-saving mission. Acknowledgment has also been extended to Mr Griffin for his valuable contribution to the rescue efforts.

However, the incident has shed light on longstanding concerns about the efficiency of Limerick’s fire services. The outdated fire engine, estimated to be half a century old, faced criticism for its inability to provide sufficient pressure to reach the top of the building during the William Street fire. This revelation has prompted renewed calls for a modernized fire service in the city.

The discussion extends to the need for a new fire engine, with the current proposal seeking a loan of £1,000 to replace the antiquated equipment. Critics argue that the city should explore alternative funding options, particularly in light of a rumoured offer from a local merchant to donate a motor fire engine. The Corporation’s decision not to accept this alleged offer has fuelled speculation and raised questions about the city’s commitment to securing the best firefighting resources.

In light of these concerns, there are renewed calls for a comprehensive review of Limerick’s fire services. The tragic events on Sunday morning have underscored the urgent need for updated and efficient firefighting equipment, emphasizing the importance of investing in the safety of the community. As discussions continue, the city awaits decisions that will shape the future of its firefighting capabilities and ensure the prevention of such devastating incidents in the years to come.

Evening Herald (Dublin) – Saturday 05 April 1913

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