A CITY hotelier was so moved by the plight of apartment dwellers after their entire complex was damaged in a major fire over the weekend that he brought them down to his premises and gave them a bed for the night and breakfast the following morning.
Jim Brennan of the Club House Hotel, Patrick Street was one of a number of people who arrived at the scene of the fire on Upper Patrick Street, after 12.30am on Monday morning where three units of the fire service and a number of brave firemen wearing breathing apparatus risked their own lives to ensure the inferno did not spread to neighbouring buildings.
Luckily no one was hurt in the fire. Those who were at home got out on time while others were out socialising and came back to find their worldly possessions gone up in smoke.
The residents have been left without a permanent home. Jim Brennan said he felt obliged to take the people in after he saw a man standing in his pyjamas holding his little daughter in his hands, watching helplessly with tears in his eyes as the fireman did their work.
“There was nothing else for it, it was so sad to watch them freezing on the street, it’s a terrible thing to have to go through and we were delighted to give them the six rooms we had free,” he said. “It is what any decent human being would have done,” he added. Jim who has owned the hotel for 35 years which is something of an institution in the city, praised the staff for working through the night to help those affected. “It was a team effort and my son Ian also deserves credit for this,” he said.
The grateful residents have been back to the hotel to thank him, his son Ian and the staff for their kindness. Some of those affected stayed Monday night and last night (Tuesday) as well.
After bringing the blaze under control, with two units from Kilkenny city and one from Freshford, the firemen sourced the likely cause of the fire, a rubbish bin in the underground archway which also resulted in the burning of three cars parked there. Luckily, the front of the property has been vacant for some time.
Gardai who are investigating the cause of the blaze that was reported to the fire station at around 1.16am on Monday cordoned off the archway and 10 apartments on Monday morning and carried out a detailed forensic examination. They are still examining whether or not it was an accident or if it was intentional.
Anyone who was on Upper Patrick Street between 11.30pm on Sunday night and 12.30am on Monday morning is asked to contact the garda station on 056-7775000 in the strictest confidence.