The fire which engulfed part of an old factory premises outside Naas on Wednesday, July 5, was almost certainly started deliberately.
Nobody, including personnel working with the Kildare County Council Fire Service, was injured during the blaze which lasted for an hour-and-a-half after rubber at the scene was set alight.
The intense fire was confined to within a single building at the old Cemex plant, close to the iconic Perpetual Motion monument (better known as the ‘Big Ball’) just off the M7.
Emergency services were notified of the fire outbreak at 8.29pm and the first unit from Naas Fire Station arrived eight minutes later.
Additional fire appliances from Newbridge and Maynooth stations were summoned to the scene.
At the height of the blaze there were eight vehicles at the scene including 3 water tankers. Firemen, wearing special breathing apparatus, had the fire put out by 10pm but a skeleton crew remained at the scene until 1.45am on Friday – when the last vehicle left.
The fire was caused by the setting alight of rubber seals and some insulation material once used in the manufacture of concrete pipes.
It burned uncontrollably for a time, sending columns of black smoke into the sky which were visible some distance away.
The prevailing wind blew the smoke across farmland and away from the motorway.
It’s understood that traffic movement was hindered more by drivers slowing down to look rather than as a direct result of the fire.
The first firemen to arrive at the derelict premises used a grinder to cut through locked gates to get their vehicles on to the site. They used machinery to drag large pipes out of the way. Once inside the fire personnel had to negotiate safe paths around open pits which once housed manufacturing machinery.
The factory site is known as a place where young people from the area gather.