Smoke drifts from Naas Shopping Centre tonight
Emergency services are at the scene of a freak fire at the Naas Shopping Centre tonight.
The blaze appeared to take hold within the building’s perimeter at a point closer to Corban’s Lane than South Main Street.
Fires are not uncommon within the €50m. complex, which never opened to the public, but most of these incidents are trivial in nature.
This evening’s incident started at about 9.15. Two units of the Fire Service were quickly on the scene and Church Lane was closed off near the Presbyterian Church to pedestrians and vehicles.
The gardai were also present and they parked a patrol car on Corban’s Lane, outside Naas CBS, to prevent traffic using the roadway. The firemen entered the premises from Chapel Lane and Friary Road to bring the blaze under control.
WATCH VIDEO: Naas Shopping Centre on fire as smoke engulfs town
No flames or sparks were visible from anywhere outside the centre. But there were dramatic scenes as columns of pitch black smoke billowed skywards before drifting towards Friary Road and Blessington Road in fairly moderate winds. This suggests that material like rubber, plastic or insulation material caught fire. There have been reports of people breaking into the centre and starting minor fires in recent months.
At the height of the incident Corban's Lane was enveloped in smoke, making it impossible to see a prolonged section of the normally busy road.
Fortunately most of those who work in Naas and park there during the day had left. Up to 100 cars are parked there most days. It is understood nobody was injured.
Coincidentally, the Leader reported on Tuesday that a receiver had been appointed to the centre, which was originally due to open in late 2009.
By 11pm the fire had been brought under control by firemen, although they remained at the scene as did local gardai and there were four patrol cars on Corban's Lane ensuring that the route remained closed for a 30 metre section of the roadway. Motorists on the route were directed to perform u-turns and leave - though most of the road remained open through the night.
The amount of smoke coming from the centre had reduced dramatically and there was no sign along the main street that a fire had taken place. There were no ambulances at the scene.
Many curious onlookers gathered outside Naas CBS and at the town entrance to Church Lane from where a water tanker could be seen parked at the entrance to the centre's "unofficial" car park. A hose carried water from a hydrant past St. David's Castle to the building. Firemen also accessed the centre from Corban's Lane.
There were unconfirmed reports that some cars within the centre had been damaged.
PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE BY TONY KEANE: